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Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up

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Mollie Katzen, renowned author of The Moosewood Cookbook, and educator Ann Henderson bring the grown-up world of real cooking to a child’s level. Children as young as three years old and as old as eight become head chef while an adult serves as guide and helper. Extensively classroom- and home-tested, these recipes are designed to inspire an early appreciation for creative Mollie Katzen, renowned author of The Moosewood Cookbook, and educator Ann Henderson bring the grown-up world of real cooking to a child’s level. Children as young as three years old and as old as eight become head chef while an adult serves as guide and helper. Extensively classroom- and home-tested, these recipes are designed to inspire an early appreciation for creative, wholesome food. Whimsical watercolor critters and pictorial versions of each recipe will help the young cook understand and delight in the process. Just consider all that can be explored in the kitchen: counting, reading readiness, science awareness, self-confidence, patience, and, importantly, food literacy. Pizza, after all, does not come “from a telephone.”


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Mollie Katzen, renowned author of The Moosewood Cookbook, and educator Ann Henderson bring the grown-up world of real cooking to a child’s level. Children as young as three years old and as old as eight become head chef while an adult serves as guide and helper. Extensively classroom- and home-tested, these recipes are designed to inspire an early appreciation for creative Mollie Katzen, renowned author of The Moosewood Cookbook, and educator Ann Henderson bring the grown-up world of real cooking to a child’s level. Children as young as three years old and as old as eight become head chef while an adult serves as guide and helper. Extensively classroom- and home-tested, these recipes are designed to inspire an early appreciation for creative, wholesome food. Whimsical watercolor critters and pictorial versions of each recipe will help the young cook understand and delight in the process. Just consider all that can be explored in the kitchen: counting, reading readiness, science awareness, self-confidence, patience, and, importantly, food literacy. Pizza, after all, does not come “from a telephone.”

30 review for Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This book is a must for any kid interested in cooking. The recipes are illustrated, so even non-readers can follow along. And all the recipes we've tried have been yummy. Thank you Mollie Katzen!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Fischer

    I found this book at the library when I was looking for books about soup for one of our homeschool lessons. I love that the recipes are simple and use simple ingredients that most of my kids like. There are hints and safety tips that go along with each recipe in order to help children assist in a safe manner. I love that the directions are written out on one page and illustrated with simple instructions on another page. This is a great book for young children that are eager to help in the kitche I found this book at the library when I was looking for books about soup for one of our homeschool lessons. I love that the recipes are simple and use simple ingredients that most of my kids like. There are hints and safety tips that go along with each recipe in order to help children assist in a safe manner. I love that the directions are written out on one page and illustrated with simple instructions on another page. This is a great book for young children that are eager to help in the kitchen and parents that aren’t sure how to make that happen.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Gave this to my 3-year-old niece along with a kid's chef set (apron, hat, utensils, etc.) for her birthday. She loves it! She and her mom have already tried out a couple of the recipes (Green Spaghetti and Popovers), and now she's always asking her mom what they're going to make next.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carly

    This book is a MUST for all kids! Easy to follow pictures (no need to read) and they learn self help skills!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sorento62

    A cookbook for pre-readers, where the grownup is the assistant. Wonderful.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Checkthebook

    What a wonderful, healthy and creative cookbook for little kids. I sent it to me niece and she loves it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    My toddler said she loves this book. I like it a lot, too.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    My three-year-old son is very fond of helping out in the kitchen, so I bought this in hopes of some recipe ideas that would allow him to do more than just stir things. The book also got good reviews from the parents of picky eaters, suggesting that allowing kids to prepare their own meals would coax them to taste new things. I was skeptical, of course, but thought it was worth a try. (Our kiddo had an adventurous palate when he was tiny, but as soon as he realized could say no to things, he was My three-year-old son is very fond of helping out in the kitchen, so I bought this in hopes of some recipe ideas that would allow him to do more than just stir things. The book also got good reviews from the parents of picky eaters, suggesting that allowing kids to prepare their own meals would coax them to taste new things. I was skeptical, of course, but thought it was worth a try. (Our kiddo had an adventurous palate when he was tiny, but as soon as he realized could say no to things, he was content to live on peanut butter sandwiches.) There are recipes for baking, cooking, and just putting together cold items for a snack. Each has a set of instructions for parents, including more precise measurements and some advice on preparation so that you can minimize the mess, while maximizing the kid's fun and participation. All this is followed by an illustrated set of instructions for the child to follow. So far, we've made three of the recipes. The noodle soup was a hit, and I was pretty stunned that my son was willing to eat it, taking big bites of noodles, corn, peas, and mushrooms. He was even eating them in the same bite! The base is Ramen, including the spice packet, so it was pretty flavorful. The popovers, however, were disgusting. Easy and fun to make, yes, but they were completely devoid of flavor. Same with the French toast. I suspected the French toast was going to be flavorless based on the popover experience, so I doctored the egg mix with brown sugar and vanilla and that helped a little, but ... yeck. My son did not want to try either of the latter two, and I don't think he missed out on anything. We'll still try the other recipes. Most of all, I appreciate the ideas it's given me about how to let him participate in creating our meals, even at age three. He really loves to look at the recipes when we're not in the kitchen, too. From the illustration pages, he likes to read the instructions to me, which is super cute. The last step is always "Eat!" I guess we'll keep working on that one.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Suzy

    J This book is great for preschoolers, parents, and teachers. There are easy step by step instructions in pictures to make the recipes. As a preschool teacher, I have made copies of each picture in a recipe before, and made them into individual cards to hand to each child. Then we look at the recipe together, and sequence the cards and children. This is developmentally appropriate for this age group because sequencing is involved, and each child knows when it is their turn to help. This makes the J This book is great for preschoolers, parents, and teachers. There are easy step by step instructions in pictures to make the recipes. As a preschool teacher, I have made copies of each picture in a recipe before, and made them into individual cards to hand to each child. Then we look at the recipe together, and sequence the cards and children. This is developmentally appropriate for this age group because sequencing is involved, and each child knows when it is their turn to help. This makes the impossible task of waiting easier for preschoolers. They know it's their turn when their card is next in line. The illustrations are brightly colored, and the recipes are delightful. Cooking is very developmentally appropriate for preschoolers to learn small motor coordination, sequencing, science, as well as social skills. I highly recommend this book to anyone working with, or enjoying children. I have yet to see a children's cookbook as well designed as this one, except for the other Molly Katzen Children 's Cookbook that I'm going to go look for right now....

  10. 5 out of 5

    KidsNonFiction Teton County Library

    J 641.51 KATZEN This book is great for preschoolers, parents, and teachers. There are easy step by step instructions in pictures to make the recipes. As a preschool teacher, I have made copies of each picture in a recipe before, and made them into individual cards to hand to each child. Then we look at the recipe together, and sequence the cards and children. This is developmentally appropriate for this age group because sequencing is involved, and each child knows when it is their turn to help J 641.51 KATZEN This book is great for preschoolers, parents, and teachers. There are easy step by step instructions in pictures to make the recipes. As a preschool teacher, I have made copies of each picture in a recipe before, and made them into individual cards to hand to each child. Then we look at the recipe together, and sequence the cards and children. This is developmentally appropriate for this age group because sequencing is involved, and each child knows when it is their turn to help. This makes the impossible task of waiting easier for preschoolers. They know it's their turn when their card is next in line. The illustrations are brightly colored, and the recipes are delightful. Cooking is very developmentally appropriate for preschoolers to learn small motor coordination, sequencing, science, as well as social skills. I highly recommend this book to anyone working with, or enjoying children. I have yet to see a children's cookbook as well designed as this one, except for the other Molly Katzen Children's Cookbook. (Suzy)

  11. 5 out of 5

    E.L.

    I bought this for my four-year-old and three-year-old to use. Today the 4yo made a recipe from it (Pink Fruit Dip), and I could swear that she grew about five inches while putting everything together. By the time she was done and serving the dip to all of us, she was beaming from ear to ear. This is a fantastic book for letting little ones start to learn about reading recipes and following directions, as well as engaging them in the kitchen. And the pride they get from making something all by th I bought this for my four-year-old and three-year-old to use. Today the 4yo made a recipe from it (Pink Fruit Dip), and I could swear that she grew about five inches while putting everything together. By the time she was done and serving the dip to all of us, she was beaming from ear to ear. This is a fantastic book for letting little ones start to learn about reading recipes and following directions, as well as engaging them in the kitchen. And the pride they get from making something all by themselves (well, with a little help from an adult), and then eating it, and ESPECIALLY then giving it to others to eat, is amazing. Love this book, and already have the next books in this cookbook series on my to-buy list - once we've gone through this one, we'll be on the hunt for more great recipes!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    I like the concept of this book: A cookbook for kids . . . REALLY for kids . . . I mean, with pictorial instructions and simple words that even a preschooler truly could follow. My biggest complaint (which almost earned the book 2 stars) is simply that many of the recipes sound, well, icky (i.e., noodle pudding and oatmeal surprise--I'd be worried about any food with the word "surprise" in it). Ultimately, the recipes that DO sound good are so standard (french toast, blueberry pancakes, fruit sa I like the concept of this book: A cookbook for kids . . . REALLY for kids . . . I mean, with pictorial instructions and simple words that even a preschooler truly could follow. My biggest complaint (which almost earned the book 2 stars) is simply that many of the recipes sound, well, icky (i.e., noodle pudding and oatmeal surprise--I'd be worried about any food with the word "surprise" in it). Ultimately, the recipes that DO sound good are so standard (french toast, blueberry pancakes, fruit salad) that it seems silly to spend money on a book to tell us how to do something we already know how to do ourselves.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris Gwinn

    Let's be clear - this is, as advertised, a cookbook for preschoolers, and has to be evaluated in that context. My five-year-old daughter loves it with the sort of passion that only small children loves things. She will "read" it on her own. She wants to make something different out of it every day. I'm never going to make a recipe from this book without her. Ann's run into some occasional discrepancies between the adult and kid recipes. There's the occasional vague iconography and inconsistent s Let's be clear - this is, as advertised, a cookbook for preschoolers, and has to be evaluated in that context. My five-year-old daughter loves it with the sort of passion that only small children loves things. She will "read" it on her own. She wants to make something different out of it every day. I'm never going to make a recipe from this book without her. Ann's run into some occasional discrepancies between the adult and kid recipes. There's the occasional vague iconography and inconsistent serving size. The resulting food is pitched to a kid's palette, although fairly healthy. But if you want to get a kid excited about cooking, I've not run into anything better.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I heart this book! The girls and I have already cooked up Pretend Soup, Hide-and-Seek Muffins, and Blueberry Pancakes. And, many more great recipes to come! They love being mini chefs, and the best part of their day is presenting their culinary creations to Daddy. A great feature of this book is the step-by-step instructions in pictures and simple words that even young children can easily decipher. I love that each week we can pick out a recipe or two, go shopping for the ingredients, make it, a I heart this book! The girls and I have already cooked up Pretend Soup, Hide-and-Seek Muffins, and Blueberry Pancakes. And, many more great recipes to come! They love being mini chefs, and the best part of their day is presenting their culinary creations to Daddy. A great feature of this book is the step-by-step instructions in pictures and simple words that even young children can easily decipher. I love that each week we can pick out a recipe or two, go shopping for the ingredients, make it, and devour. I'd rather bake than clean house, so this is a happy activity for all.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Quanita

    Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up, by Mollie Katzen is in the genre of Informational Texts and recommended for children aged 3 years and older. In the book there are recipes like Counting Soup, Chewy Energy Circles, and Polka Dot Rice. I feel this book would be good to use in a variety of subjects like writing and science. The recipes in the boom are healthy and it's excellent for parents to do together with their children. What I love about this book is tha Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up, by Mollie Katzen is in the genre of Informational Texts and recommended for children aged 3 years and older. In the book there are recipes like Counting Soup, Chewy Energy Circles, and Polka Dot Rice. I feel this book would be good to use in a variety of subjects like writing and science. The recipes in the boom are healthy and it's excellent for parents to do together with their children. What I love about this book is that it' now a classic and can be used all year for many different excersices.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jessi

    I really like the way this book is set up, with written out instructions for the adults and picture instructions for the kids. I think it could be good practice for moving to the next level of reading because they could read the more descriptive versions but still have the simpler instructions with the pictures to fall back on if they need it. It would also be a good example of the way 'how to' books are set up, they clearly separate the steps and show how an illustration is a good tool for unde I really like the way this book is set up, with written out instructions for the adults and picture instructions for the kids. I think it could be good practice for moving to the next level of reading because they could read the more descriptive versions but still have the simpler instructions with the pictures to fall back on if they need it. It would also be a good example of the way 'how to' books are set up, they clearly separate the steps and show how an illustration is a good tool for understanding each step.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    This is a really great cookbook for children. Each recipe appears twice, first in a regular format for the adults to read and then in a kid friendly picture format for the child to follow. It's designed in a way for the child to do most of the work with the adults as their "partner" so it's really neat. The pictures are clear and easy to follow and the recipes themselves are pretty basic but fun and yummy sounding. All of the recipes are vegetarian.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    Loved this! I had a cherished cookbook as a young child, so I got this (and Salad People) for my son, and he was thrilled. He loves to cook, and the pictures are a big help. He's only 3.5, so he can't read, but he'll say "Ok Mommy, now we throw in the strawberries'- so, ok, they are supposed to be cherry tomatoes, who cares! The best part is that they are 100% vegetarian, so all the fun, without the stress of eliminating ingredients that we don't eat.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mrs.soule

    This is one of those books I wish I could give two ratings. The clarity of recipe instructions is wonderful and they could easily be followed by a preschooler if read aloud. However there were maybe 3 recipes in the entire book that my family could use due to our lactose- and gluten-free requirements. So while I would recommend this book to friends with budding young chefs, it's not a cookbook we'll be using.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julie Barrett

    Pretend Soup by Mollie Katzen Various recipes for kids to make. Not only are these healhy but they are visually stimulating and they are not hard to kids to do the making themselves. Reminds me of the time I helped my mother in law who was in charge of the local Head Start Nutrition for all the kids put together a recipe book for kids to make the food. The drawings and colors and food used is a big help. Recipes for Fruit drinks in the blender and other foods kids will eat are included.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    (It looks like the summary for this is meant for Salad People, not Pretend Soup.) Pretend Soup is easily my favorite kids cookbook. This is a very thought-out format for recipes for kids - the written instructions, the pictures for pre-readers, and the praise/quotes for taste testers really helped to convince my kids at several ages that cooking is easy. I'm so glad I found these recipes while they were young, to expand their palettes and get them involved in the kitchen, at least sometimes.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    I loved this book as a little girl. It is a healthy vegetarian recipe book and would be a great addition to a curriculum on environment. I would teach about the importance of eating organically and then go on to show my students this book and the different yummy, healthy recipes they could make. We would make one as a class. The illustrations in the book are just lovely - I have never seen a child recipe book like this one.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I purchased this book awhile back and I absolutely love it. Audrey has so much fun learning how to cook with it...she can't wait until she can make something else! So fun. I would highly recommend it if you have a child that seems interested in cooking! http://floralshowers.com/home-schooli... I purchased this book awhile back and I absolutely love it. Audrey has so much fun learning how to cook with it...she can't wait until she can make something else! So fun. I would highly recommend it if you have a child that seems interested in cooking! http://floralshowers.com/home-schooli...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dianna

    What a great idea! This book isn't written for kids to help their parents, it's for parents to help their kids. Each recipe is written for parents first, then you turn the page for pictorial instructions that a child can follow. We haven't actually tried any of the recipes yet, but I'm inspired now to give my four-year-old son a bigger role in preparing our meals.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    21 months - you like everything "cooking" so although we didn't cook any of these recipes we talked about them and discussed the great step by step instructions. We will borrow this book again and make some pretend soup! I love the idea of using photocopies cut up for sequencing exercises before making the recipe.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Hadyn

    I thought this would be a great idea - I didn't realize illustrated cookbooks like this existed! After ordering it, I left it out for my five-year-old son to discover. Once he did, he could not put this book down. He would "read" the steps for each recipe to me. the recipes look tasty, and most importantly, are ones kids can mostly do themselves. Great idea and great execution.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dena

    We now have several aprons for Alex thanks to these cookbooks, which got him into cooking at an early age, even before "Ratatouille" was released. we read these at bedtime and *not* in the kitchen. Although I did try some of the recipes with him as a separate activity.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I must confess to not using this book a lot (not the book's fault, I really don't cook) but it's a lovely read - and it was sent to me by the author after I interviewed her. She was such a decent, nice, warm person to interview when so many were not - and she inscribed it to my kids. Very cool.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nynke

    My kids LOVE this book!!!! Arwin wants to cook something from it every day! So I am thinking about buying "Salad People" too so we will have some more variety of recipes! Also they will eat what they make and it is healthy too!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    The recipes are followed with step-by-step drawings for the kids to follow. Each recipe is preceded by a handful of quotes by very young children that seem to have been made during the cooking process or after tasting the result. These are quite amusing.

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