The Best 10 Picture Books to Read With Your Kids About Cooking

Updated Apr. 22, 2019

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.

Too Many Tamales book
#3
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.

The Seven Silly Eaters book
#4
The Seven Silly Eaters
Written by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Marla Frazee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Seven fussy eaters find a way to surprise their mother.

Even Aliens Need Snacks book
#5
Even Aliens Need Snacks
Written and illustrated by Matthew McElligott
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Tony's bread book
#6
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.

The Cook and the King book
#7
The Cook and the King
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by David Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

The Boy Who Wanted to Cook book
#8
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.

Pie book
#9
Pie
Written and illustrated by Sarah Weeks
picture 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.

Yasmin the Chef book
#10
Yasmin the Chef
Written by Saadia Faruqi and illustrated by Hatem Aly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!