There's probably someone in your life who isn't old enough to benefit from new knives or an espresso machine. Make sure the little ones have delicious dreams after bedtime stories with these food-inspired childrens' books. They range from the classic (Stone Soup, Strega Nona, and The Carrot Seed) to the more recent (A Little Pea, Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog, and The Donut Chef).

20081209-donut-mini.jpgThe Donut Chef by Bob Staake. On a small street, one baker's donuts inspire a huge line down the block—until competition arrives, in the form of crazy flavors. But sometimes you just want glazed, right? The donut chef wins over townspeople when he learns a lesson in simplicity.

20081209-littlepea.jpgLittle Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Little Pea has many hobbies: rolling down hills, chilling with friends, and avoiding candy. Ew, candy. He'd much prefer leafy green spinach for dessert.

20081209-moose-mini.jpgIf You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff. From the famous "If You Give a..." series, this moose will clearly ask for jam when handed a muffin. And when he's finished, he'll want more, which means he'll need to go outside. Which means he'll need to borrow a sweater. Which means he might lose a button (and need needle and thread). Ah, it all started with a muffin.

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown.
The classic Grimm Brothers tale is also known as button soup, wood soup, nail soup, and axe soup in other traditions. Three hungry soldiers travel through a village with only an empty pot, but trick the inhabitants into providing them with a feast.

20081209-beem-mini.jpgBee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park. An adorable girl helps her mother shop and prepare a traditional Korean meal. One that involves lots of bee-bim bop. She has as much fun cooking the food as she does pronouncing the rhythmic word.

20081209-strega-mini.jpgStrega Nona by Tomie dePaola. In her medieval village, Strega Nona is like a grandmotherly Italian superhero. She can cure headaches, matchmake couples, and remove warts—even the priests and nuns go to her with problems. But when Strega Nona's magic pot of pasta overflows, she has her own crisis. (But luckily, Nona can fix anything.)

20081208-pancakes-mini.jpgPancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle. When Jack wakes up, there's only one thing on his mind: a big pancake. But that will require flour from the mill, an egg from the hen, milk from the spotted cow, and fresh cream churned into butter. Jack lives in a world without Bisquick.

20081209-pickles-mini.jpgPickles to Pittsburgh by Judi and Ron Barrett. In this sequel to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the town of Chewandswallow reappears. What used to be an "ordinary" town now has a field of giant broccoli stalks, orange juice rainstorms, and an airline runway of crisp bacon strips.

20081208-pigeon-mini.jpgPigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems. Can't a pigeon just eat his hot dog in peace? Not when an inquisitive duckling won't stop badgering him. "What do they taste like?...Would you say that it tastes like chicken?" It tastes like a hot dog, geez!

20081208-milk-mini.jpgIt Looked like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw. Sure, the white silhouette of spilt milk could just resemble milk, but it could also qualify as a rabbit, a bird, or a squirrel. Good for the really imaginative ones.

20081208-carrot-mini.jpgThe Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss. The lesson here: carrot seeds need some TLC and lots of time before they can sprout. If you wait patiently enough, though, the orange guy may just win first prize at the state fair.

20081209-dimsum-mini.jpgYum Yum Dim Sum by Amy Wilson Sanger. Dim summing can be an overwhelming experience, whether you're four or forty. This is a great primer, complete with collage-like images of scallion pancakes, stuffed dau fu, and jing cha siu bao.


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