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Cooking: Books For Kids

Whether you already have a little chef on your hands or are looking to drum up a little more interest, these fun books about cooking are a great introduction to the culinary world from a literary perspective. From the Strega Nona's classic magic pasta pot to board books that let you interactively make pizza as you turn the pages, there's something on this age group for every interest level and attention span. Get out your aprons and mixing bowls, because these will have you in the mood to do some cooking sooner or later!

Stone Soup book
#1
Stone Soup
Written and illustrated by Jon J Muth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

An award-winning artist adds a Zen twist to a favorite tale. As three monks travel along a mountain road, they encounter villagers ravaged by harsh times, making them cold to strangers. When the monks entice them to make soup from stones, the villagers discover how much they have to give. Full color.

Strega Nona book
#2
Strega Nona
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Grammy

At our house, we have loved Tomie De Paola books for decades. The original Strega Nona is a big favorite! There are so many wonderful things about this book: the importance of listening carefully, trust, independence, natural consequences and having the punishment fit the crime, best of all, the magic in this book is really just three kisses. The color palate for DePaola's illustrations is right out of 'once upon a time' in Italy, as are the architectural details and costuming. It is a gentle cautionary tale with manageable consequences--which is a good thing because there is a little Big Anthony in all of us.

When Strega Nona leaves him alone with her magic pasta pot, Big Anthony is determined to show the townspeople how it works in this classic Caldecott Honor book from Tomie dePaola. Strega Nona—"Grandma Witch"—is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical everfull pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony. He is supposed to look after her house and tend her garden but one day, when she goes over the mountain to visit Strega Amelia, Big Anthony recites the magic verse over the pasta pot, with disastrous results. In this retelling of an old tale, author-illustrator Tomie dePaola combines humor in the writing and warmth in the paintings as he builds the story to its hilarious climax.

Chicken Soup With Rice book
#3
Chicken Soup With Rice
Written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

In this beloved classic, Maurice Sendak blends his signature artwork with rhymes you’ll want to read over and over—in every season.

Too Many Tamales book
#4
Too Many Tamales
Written by Gary Soto and illustrated by Ed Martinez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Maria tries on her mother's wedding ring while helping make tamales for a Christmas family get-together. Panic ensues when hours later, she realizes the ring is missing.

What's Up Tiger?: Food book
#5
What's Up Tiger?: Food
Written and illustrated by Cocoretto
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I'm a big fan of this Cocoretto series of books with big sturdy flaps that my toddler can easily open himself as often as he wants with pretty much zero chance of them every ripping off. This book introduces a little bit of ethnic food, along with some fan favorites (like pepperoni pizza!) and it's a fun introduction to different types of baking and cooking. My two year absolutely adores this one right now and can "read" the whole thing himself, which is completely adorable!

What are the animals up to? There are lots of clues to help us decide, and we can lift the flap to see if we’re right.

  1. The Seven Silly Eaters - Seven fussy eaters find a way to surprise their mother.

  2. Even Aliens Need Snacks - In the follow up to his breakout picture book, Even Monsters Need Haircuts, Matthew McElligott brings back the young monster barber in a new tale where his culinary concoctions bring him galaxy-wide fame. Creating snacks that make most humans queasy, this chef has found a new clientele--aliens. Readers will delight in McElligott's gently offbeat humor and unique artistry as spaceships full of hilarious creatures line up for a taste of the intergalactic cuisine.

  3. Tacos!: An Interactive Recipe Book - B is for Bookworm - This is such a fabulous interactive book, though I'd recommend it being for a little bit older children, as there are a lot of pieces you can take out of this book. This interactive book is perfect for little ones interested in food and cooking, and I love that it has an actual recipe full of directions!

  4. We're Going to the Farmers' Market - B is for Bookworm - This is one of my favorite board books! You can't beat the vivid, bright, beautiful colors and illustrations in this book, and I love that it talks kids through where their food comes from, starting with the farmers and ending up on their plates.

Bilal Cooks Daal book
#10
Bilal Cooks Daal
Written by Aisha Saeed and illustrated by Anoosha Syed
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Six-year-old Bilal introduces his friends to his favorite dish—daal!—in this charming picture book that showcases the value of patience, teamwork, community, and sharing. Six-year-old Bilal is excited to help his dad make his favorite food of all-time: daal! The slow-cooked lentil dish from South Asia requires lots of ingredients and a whole lot of waiting. Bilal wants to introduce his friends to daal. They’ve never tried it! As the day goes on, the daal continues to simmer, and more kids join Bilal and his family, waiting to try the tasty dish. And as time passes, Bilal begins to wonder: Will his friends like it as much as he does? This debut picture book by Aisha Saeed, with charming illustrations by Anoosha Syed, uses food as a means of bringing a community together to share in each other’s family traditions.

Soup Day book
#11
Soup Day
Written and illustrated by Melissa Iwai
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

This is a very unique book.I really enjoyed reading it. The little girl gets to help her mother make soup, and while it's cooking they get to play, and then clean up and then eat the delicious soup together. I loved that it showed how children can help their parents and then, often, their parents have time to play with them. When there is order there is enjoyment by all. It also has a recipe at the end which is a very fun touch.

Now in board book! A young girl and her mother shop to buy ingredients for vegetable soup. At home, they work together—step by step—to prepare the meal. A little later, the family sits down to enjoy a special dinner. Melissa Iwai's Soup Day celebrates the importance of making a nutritious meal and sharing in the process as a family. A Christy Ottaviano Book

Tony's bread book
#12
Tony's bread
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A baker loses his daughter but gains a bakery in the grand city of Milano after meeting a determined nobleman, in a tale that explains the origin of the the name "panettone"--a traditional sweet bread of Italy.

Pizza! book
#13
Pizza!
Written and illustrated by Lotta Nieminen
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is a delightfully original take on a "cookbook" for kids, that combines the text of a recipe with minimalist illustrations and sturdy interactive elements that are 100% the pizzazz factor and without which it would be quite boring. WITH the interactive elements, however, kids get to experience a recipe and what it means to follow one while staying involved and doing some mess-free cooking!

Cook pizza from scratch in this fully interactive recipe book that allows readers mix the ingredients, knead the dough, spread the sauce, and more! STEP ONE: Stir the yeast and sugar into the warm water, and set aside until bubbly. STEP TWO: Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. STEP THREE: Add the oil and yeast mixture into the large bowl and mix until the ingredients turn into a large clump of dough! Simple yet accurate recipe text takes readers through the steps of cooking pizza, from dough to toppings, while the interactive novelty features invite them to participate in the process! One hundred percent adult-free, knife-free, oven-free, and mess-free, cooking pizza has never been so independent! Perfect for kids who love to help in the kitchen, or any child who prefers to 'do it myself'. This is the second title in a series of interactive recipe books.

Pete's a Pizza book
#14
Pete's a Pizza
Written and illustrated by William Steig
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Pete's father starts kneading the dough. Next, some oil is generously applied. (Its really water.) And then some tomatoes. (They're really checkers.) When the dough gets tickled, it laughs like crazy.

  1. The Cook and the King - The king searches his kingdom far and wide for the perfect cook. He’s very particular, and none of the cooks can get the job done just right. Until the king meets Wobbly Bob. The king thinks Wobbly Bob might be the perfect fit, but there’s just one small hitch—Wobbly Bob is afraid of everything. He’s afraid that he’ll nick himself with the sharp kitchen knives, and he’s afraid he’ll get dirt from the vegetable garden on his new apron. Wobbly Bob needs a companion to help him feel brave, so the king himself tags along every step of the way. This tale of unlikely friendship is a fun and hilarious romp from a bestselling team.

  2. Bone Soup - One Halloween morning three witches are looking for a tasty treat and they find only a small bone in their cupboard. So they decide to go from door to door in their village to find just the right ingredients for their Bone Soup. No one in the village is convinced that soup can be made from a bone, until the littlest monster reveals just what the special ingredient should be.

  3. Yasmin the Chef - Yasmin's family is hosting a big party, but Yasmin is worried that the traditional food her family is cooking is too spicy--so her family challenges Yasmin to come up with a dish of her own.

  4. All Four Stars - A zesty new series for fans of MasterChef Jr. and Kids Cook-off! It's "lights, camera, cook!" for four tween contestants--energetic Tate, charming Rae, worldly Caroline, and hyper-competitive Oliver--who are all about to enter a televised cooking competition. What will the kids cook up? How will they all get along on and off camera? Which junior chef will have the grit--and maybe the grits--to make it through each elimination challenge? And which junior chef will have to hang their apron up for good?

Pie book
#19
Pie
Written and illustrated by Sarah Weeks
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

After the death of Polly Portman, whose award-winning pies put the town of Ipswitch, Pennsylvania, on the map in the 1950s, her devoted niece Alice and Alice's friend Charlie investigate who is going to extremes to find Aunt Polly's secret pie crust recipe. Includes fourteen pie recipes.

Lights, Camera, Cook! book
#20
Lights, Camera, Cook!
Written by Charise Mericle Harper and illustrated by Aurelie Blard-Quintard
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

A zesty new series for fans of MasterChef Jr. and Kids Cook-off! It's "lights, camera, cook!" for four tween contestants--energetic Tate, charming Rae, worldly Caroline, and hyper-competitive Oliver--who are all about to enter a televised cooking competition. What will the kids cook up? How will they all get along on and off camera? Which junior chef will have the grit--and maybe the grits--to make it through each elimination challenge? And which junior chef will have to hang their apron up for good?

Junie B., First Grader book
#21
Junie B., First Grader
Written by Barbara Park and illustrated by Denise Brunkus
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Junie, an outspoken, sometimes exasperating, first grader is thrilled when she is told she can help out Mrs. Gutzman in the school cafeteria and imagines what it will be like to be a professional lunch lady. Reprint.

The Boy Who Wanted to Cook book
#22
The Boy Who Wanted to Cook
Written by Gloria Whelan and illustrated by Steve Adams
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Ten-year-old Pierre dreams of being a chef at his parents' restaurant, La Bonne Vache, in the south of France but is told he is too young; however, when an important guest comes to visit, Pierre sees an opportunity to prove himself. Includes notes about dining in France and a glossary.

The Magical World of Strega Nona book
#23
The Magical World of Strega Nona
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Enter the marvelous, magical world of Strega Nona! This wonderful treasury features six favorite stories about Strega Nona and her sidekick, the bumbling Big Anthony—including the original Strega Nona, as well as Strega Nona Meets Her Match, Strega Nona: Her Story, Strega Nona Takes a Vacation, Strega Nona’s Harvest, and Strega Nona’s Gift. Tomie’s brand-new introductions to each story take readers behind the scenes to see how Strega Nona’s world has developed through the years. Also including an original lullaby—with sheet music and a CD—a map of Strega Nona’s town, and some fun recipes, this collection will give readers and music lovers much to savor. Strega Nona, Tomie dePaola’s beloved “grandmother witch,” has been enchanting readers since the publication of the Caldecott Honor Award–winning Strega Nona in 1975. Strega Nona’s gentle humor, irrepressible spirit, and matter-of-fact approach to life have won her legions of fans young and old, and the American Library Association called her “an enduring character who has charmed generations of children.”

  1. Anna, Banana, and the Recipe for Disaster - Anna and Banana must cook up a solution when her jealousy gets her into some hot water in the sixth book of this “fast-paced, fun, and funny” (Megan McDonald, bestselling author of the Judy Moody series) illustrated chapter book series about the joys and challenges of elementary school friendships. After watching the contestants on The Batter-Up Bake-Off Show whip up sweet treats, Anna, Isabel, Sadie, and Banana are ready to put their culinary chops to the test. The plan? To make the best-ever cookie recipe for the town library’s bake sale! There’s only one problem: Isabel and Sadie have started hanging out with a girl named Monica, and suddenly she’s all they can talk about. Anna’s sure she, Sadie, and Isabel are complete as a trio, and winning the bake sale will prove it. But when Monica shows up with Sadie and Isabel for their big baking day things quickly turn from sweet to sour. Can Anna win back the attention of her two besties, or will she learn that friendship—like cookies—is best when shared?

  2. The Doughnut Fix - An Amazon Best Book of the Month! Superfudge meets The Lemonade War in this funny, heartwarming series debut about change, adventure, family, and of course, doughnuts. Tristan isn't Gifted or Talented like his sister Jeanine, and he's always been okay with that because he can make a perfect chocolate chip cookie and he lives in the greatest city in the world. But his life takes a turn for the worse when his parents decide to move to middle-of-nowhere Petersville―a town with one street and no restaurants. It's like suddenly they're supposed to be this other family, one that can survive without bagels and movie theaters. His suspicions about his new town are confirmed when he's tricked into believing the local general store has life-changing chocolate cream doughnuts, when in fact the owner hasn't made them in years. And so begins the only thing that could make life in Petersville worth living: getting the recipe, making the doughnuts, and bringing them back to the town through his very own doughnut stand. But Tristan will soon discover that when starting a business, it helps to be both Gifted and Talented, and It's possible he's bitten off more than he can chew...

  3. The Winner Is . . . - Two talented junior chefs have sliced and diced their way into the finale of Next Best Junior Chef. This week's theme: innovation. Which junior chef will rise to the top and earn the title of Next Best Junior Chef? And whose goose is cooked? Two contestants compete on- and off-camera, but only one will win the whole enchilada. This is a finale you won't want to miss! Bonus: includes real cooking techniques for the aspiring young chef!

  4. A Dash of Dragon - A thirteen-year-old master chef has a lot to prove as she tries to run a five-star restaurant, cook the perfect dragon cuisine, repay a greedy loan shark, and outsmart the Elven mafia in this entertaining novel that combines all of the best ingredients—fantasy, humor, adventure, action, cute boys, and a feisty heroine! Lailu Loganberry is an expert at hunting dangerous beasts. And she’s even better at cooking them. For years Lailu has trained to be the best chef in the city. Her specialty? Monster cuisine. When her mentor agrees to open a new restaurant with Lailu as the head chef, she’s never been more excited. But her celebration is cut short when she discovers that her mentor borrowed money from Mr. Boss, a vicious loan shark. If they can’t pay him back, Lailu will not only lose her restaurant—she’ll have to cook for Mr. Boss for the rest of her life. As Lailu scrambles to raise the money in time, she becomes trapped in a deadly conflict between the king’s cold-blooded assassin, the terrifying elf mafia, and Mr. Boss’ ruthless crew. Worst of all, her only hope in outsmarting Mr. Boss lies with the one person she hates—Greg, the most obnoxious boy in school and her rival in the restaurant business. But like Lailu always says, if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. And she’s determined to succeed, no matter the cost!

Potion Problems book
#28
Potion Problems
Written and illustrated by Cindy Callaghan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

Kelly Quinn and her friends must figure out a way to save a beloved local store and find their infamous Secret Recipe Book, which has gone missing in this sequel to Just Add Magic (the inspiration for the family-friendly TV series)! Kelly Quinn and her best friends, Darbie and Hannah, are having the worst day ever! Their Secret Recipe Book accidentally gets included in frenemy, Charlotte’s used book drive. Not good. As if that’s not enough, the girls find out that their cooking program is on the chopping block at school, thanks to big budget cuts. Kelly & Company decide to take matters into their own hands and apply for famous TV chef Felice Foudini’s Recipe Challenge. The prize? $10,000 and webisodes on Felice’s site. With the Book and the special ingredients from their beloved mentor, Senora Perez’s, store LaCucina, the girls are sure to win. But when they turn to Senora Perez, for help, they discover La Cucina is in danger of closing! Then Kelly gets a mysterious delivery—a package with the missing Secret Recipe Book with a note: “From KE.” KE is one of the Book’s authors, but who is KE exactly? It’s up to Kelly, Darbie, and Hannah to get to the bottom of the mystery, save the cooking program, and help Senora P. keep her store!

Size Of The Truth book
#29
Size Of The Truth
Written by Andrew Smith
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A boy who spent three days trapped in a well tries to overcome his PTSD and claustrophobia so he can fulfill his dream of becoming a famous chef in this charming novel that is Andrew Smith’s first foray into middle grade storytelling. When he was four years old, Sam Abernathy was trapped at the bottom of a well for three days, where he was teased by a smart-aleck armadillo named Bartleby. Since then, his parents plan every move he makes. But Sam doesn’t like their plans. He doesn’t want to go to MIT. And he doesn’t want to skip two grades, being stuck in the eighth grade as an eleven-year-old with James Jenkins, the boy he’s sure pushed him into the well in the first place. He wants to be a chef. And he’s going to start by entering the first annual Blue Creek Days Colonel Jenkins Macaroni and Cheese Cook-Off. That is, if he can survive eighth grade, and figure out the size of the truth that has slipped Sam’s memory for seven years.

How the Cookie Crumbled book
#30
How the Cookie Crumbled
Written and illustrated by Gilbert Ford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this unique and clever picture book, Gilbert Ford sheds a little light on everyone’s favorite sweet treat—the chocolate chip cookie—and reminds readers everywhere that just because a story is told doesn’t mean it’s true. Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! Mmmmm! Everyone loves chocolate chip cookies! But not everyone knows where they came from. Meet Ruth Wakefield, the talented chef and entrepreneur who started a restaurant, wrote a cookbook, and invented this delicious dessert. But just how did she do it, you ask? That’s where things get messy...

What’s Your Favorite Food? book
#31
What’s Your Favorite Food?
Written and illustrated by Eric Carle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Everybody has a favorite food. Some enjoy sweet treats like rich honey or ripe, juicy berries. Others prefer the savory comforts of warming matzo ball soup or creamy chicken Alfredo. With beautiful illustrations and charming personal stories, fourteen children's book artists share their favorite foods and why they love them. Artists include: Aki, Isabelle Arsenault, Brigette Barrager, Matthew Cordell, Benji Davies, Karen Katz, Laurie Keller, Juliet Menendez, Greg Pizzoli, Misa Saburi, Felicita Sala, Dan Santat, Shannon Wright.

The Cazuela That The Farm Maiden Stirred book
#32
The Cazuela That The Farm Maiden Stirred
Written by Samantha R Vamos and illustrated by Rafael López
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This is the story of how the farm maiden, farmer, and five farm animals all work together to make a surprise recipe (rice pudding or arroz con leche) that they serve at a fiesta. With the familiarity of "The House That Jack Built," this story bubbles and builds just like the ingredients of the arroz con leche that everyone enjoys. Cleverly incorporating Spanish words, adding a new one in place of the English word from the previous page, this book makes learning the language easy and fun. Rafael Lopez covers each page with vibrant, exuberant color, celebrating tradition and community. Back matter includes a glossary of Spanish words and a recipe for arroz con leche—perfect for everyone to make together and enjoy at story time.

  1. Rabbit Cooks Up a Cunning Plan! - The animals of the forest cook meals for Mountain Lion so he won't eat them, but when it is Rabbit's turn to cook, he devises a plan instead to get rid of Lion for good.

  2. Pancakes to Parathas - Breakfast varies from country to country, but it's how all children begin their day. Explore the meals of twelve countries in this playful approach to the world! From Australia to India to the USA, come travel around the world at dawn. Children everywhere are waking up to breakfast. In Japan, students eat soured soybeans called natto. In Brazil, even kids drink coffee--with lots of milk! With rhythm and rhymes and bold, graphic art, Pancakes to Parathas invites young readers to explore the world through the most important meal of the day.

  3. Dumpling Dreams - "The story of how Joyce Chen, a girl born in Communist China, immigrated to the United States and popularized Chinese cooking."--

  4. Cook It! - Who's home for dinner? What shall we cook? What do we need to buy? And don't forget the washing-up! Helping with real tasks is a natural progression from pretend play, and is a crucial stage in a child's development. Achieving a shared goal encourages a sense of responsibility, and develops many skills useful in later life. Simple conversational text and lively illustrations are carefully designed to encourage further dialogue between reader and child.

Krista Kim-Bap book
#37
Krista Kim-Bap
Written and illustrated by Angela Ahn
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

Krista and Jason have been best friends since preschool. It never mattered that he was a boy with reddish brown hair and she was “the Korean girl” at school. Now in fifth grade, everyone in their class is preparing their Heritage Month projects. Jason has always loved Krista’s Korean family, and particularly her mom’s cooking, but Krista is conflicted about being her school’s “Korean Ambassador.” She’s also worried about asking her intimidating grandma to teach the class how to cook their traditional kim-bap. Combine that with her new friends pulling her away from Jason, and Krista has a lot to deal with this year!

The Secret Recipe book
#38
The Secret Recipe
Written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Kim Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Sofia helps her abuela make arroz con leche for the church dinner, but things don’t go as planned. Find out if Sofia is able to fix the recipe so her grandma isn’t embarrassed in this early chapter book.

Original Recipe book
#39
Original Recipe
Written by Jessica Young and illustrated by Jessica Secheret
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Finley's best friend Henry is about to turn nine, and Finley has a major problem: she has no idea what to give him for his birthday. He already owns all of her best creations! The school cook-off might be the perfect solution. The grand prize is a year's worth of Flying Pie Pizza ― Henry's favorite. But coming up with something original and tasty is harder than it looks. As one crazy concoction leads to another, Finley discovers that cooking is just like the rest of life ― things don't always turn out as planned and friendship is the real prize.

Princess and the Peas book
#40
Princess and the Peas
Written and illustrated by Rachel Himes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

In this adaptation of The Princess and the Pea, Ma Sally cooks the best black-eyed peas in Charleston County, South Carolina. Her son, John, is a highly eligible bachelor, and three local women vie for his hand in marriage by attempting to cook as well as Ma. At the last minute, a surprise contestant named Princess arrives at the door. Princess and John are well-matched, but Princess has her own ideas. When told she has won John’s hand, she asks him to scrub the pots and pans before she’ll give him an answer. Her answer, it turns out, is that she wants to spend some time getting to know John first. Backmatter includes an author’s note and a recipe for Princess’s Black-eyed Peas.

Holy Squawkamole! book
#41
Holy Squawkamole!
Written by Susan Wood and illustrated by Laura González
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

This tasty takeonthe classic Little Red Hen story has a deliciously spicy twist! Yum, guacamole! That's what Little Red Hen craves, and she could use some help gathering and mashing the ingredients. So she asks her friends, including an armadillo, snake, and iguana, to lend a hand. Every one just says "no." But after Little Red Hen works hard to make the scrumptious fresh guac, all the animals want a taste. In a fun departure from the original tale, Little Red Hen cooks up a comeuppance for the slackers that they'll never forget!

  1. Rabbit Stew - Fox brothers Rusty and Rojo toil and till in their vegetable garden all summer long until they're finally ready to make their splendid, scrumptious, marvelous rabbit stew. Then they begin to pick colorful ingredients one by one, from lean, green runner beans and crunchy orange carrots to fresh sprigs of parsley and roly-poly blueberries. Meanwhile, their pet rabbit watches with his bunny family, all of them getting more and more worried about what's coming next. Finally the brothers have almost everything they need. All that's missing is one... big... round... white... bowl! And in a deliciously sweet surprise ending, they use the bowl to serve the concoction to their favorite rabbit, Stew! And his family, too. The whimsical and vibrant artwork is filled with clever details, and every scene includes Stew, his three baby bunnies, and their mother, all trying to stay out of sight, creating a search-and-find element for every spread.

  2. Katie in the Kitchen - Katie wants to be helpful, and so she starts making dinner on her own.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!