The Best 19 Books to Read With Your Picky Eater

Updated May. 20, 2019

Having a picky eater can be tricky, especially with so many opinions on how to approach it as a parent. We've gathered our favorite children's books to read with your picky eaters to help them realize that trying a new food might turn out in their favor. Whether your child just doesn't like broccoli, or they hate any food that doesn't start with the letter "P," we're positive you'll find some help and laughs through these fun reads!

Little Pea book
#1
Little Pea
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Jen Corace
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This book is pretty well known at this point, and for good reason. The illustrations are charming and the story about Little Pea who REALLY doesn't want to eat his candy for dinner is remarkably clever. It's on the longer side in terms of amount of text for a board book but is absolutely worth it, and until your baby/younger toddler has a long enough attention span go for the paraphrasing the story as you go along because this is definitely one worth owning. By turning the classic childhood distaste for vegetables on it's head this book hits the perfect note of silly for a message that might actually sink in.

Ten years ago, Amy Krouse Rosenthal burst into children's books with Little Pea, a book destined to become a classic. Her witty text about a little pea who won't eat his sweets combined with the whimsical yet warm hearted art by Jen Corace create a go-to baby gift, a hilarious read-aloud, and the perfect intervention for picky eaters.

The Seven Silly Eaters book
#2
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.

Escargot book
#3
Escargot
Written by Dashka Slater and illustrated by Sydney Hanson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Such a darling, fun book! Along with the fun of talking about Escargot and racing to the salad at the end of the book, this has a great message of trying something new (like carrots) that you don't think you'll like, but end up loving. Plus, you'll learn a little French vocabulary along the way!

Bonjour! Escargot is a beautiful French snail who wants only two things: 1. To be your favorite animal. 2. To get to the delicious salad at the end of the book. But when he gets to the salad, he discovers that there's a carrot in it. And Escargot hates carrots. But when he finally tries one—with a little help from you!—he discovers that it's not so bad after all! A charming and interactive picture book ideal for picky eaters and animal lovers alike.

Gregory, the Terrible Eater book
#4
Gregory, the Terrible Eater
Written by Mitchell Sharmat and illustrated by Ariane Dewey, Jose Aruego
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Gregory, the Terrible Eater, wants orange juice and eggs for breakfast. His parents are terribly upset! Why can't Gregory eat striped ties and violins, like the rest of the goats? Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey have entered into the spirit of Mitchell Sharmat's upside-down, turned-around world with bold, wacky, expressive illustrations. The trio's exuberant collaboration provokes healthy laughter and even includes a colorful chart which gives fresh meaning to the concept of "junk food."

Dinnertime for Chickies book
#5
Dinnertime for Chickies
Written and illustrated by Janee Trasler
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This book is perfect for any picky eaters! When the chicks refuse to eat things, once they try a bite, they actually love it! I like the fun rhymes and that some of the words are playful like the way little ones talk (chocolate chippy and treaties). :)

Wash your wings, and take a seat. What will these tiny chickies eat? With the help of Cow, Pig, and Sheep, soon the chickies learn to cheep, "Pass the carrots. Pass the peas. Pass those yummy broccolis!" With engaging rhymes, endearing illustrations, and a soft padded cover, this book is perfect for babies and toddlers to enjoy, especially those picky chickies.

D.W. the Picky Eater book
#6
D.W. the Picky Eater
Written and illustrated by Marc Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

D.W. is very picky about what she eats. She doesn't seem to like anything. Her dining out days with her family are cut short when she refuses to eat her salad and flings it to the floor. Will her table manners improve in time for her Grandma Thora's special dinner out? Text copyright 2004 Lectorum Publications, Inc.

Green Eggs and Ham book
#7
Green Eggs and Ham
Written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

This has always been a favorite of mine since I was a child, and it continues to be as I read it with my boys. The really fun thing is seeing my oldest (he is only in kindergarten) as he tries to read it to his little brother before bed. The rhymes are really something else. They are so fun and silly. We have loved this book during the St. Patrick's Day holiday with the green eggs but just as well as every other day of the year. We often bring up this story at meal times as well. When our boys don't want to try a new dish, we will quote this story and it brings a smile to their face and a brave bone in their body to help them give it a try.

Sam-I-Am tries to persuade his friend to try green eggs and ham.

Bear Likes Jam book
#8
Bear Likes Jam
Written and illustrated by Ciara Gavin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from The Goodfather

We are big fans of Ciara Gavin and her characters and stories. We love that Bear Likes Jam is based on her own experiences as a mother trying to help her picky eater (and eating maybe a bit too much jam herself)! It's a fun, inventive story and a great way to help tackle the topic of picky eating habits with a young reader.

In their blended family, Mama Duck worries when Bear eats too much jam, but when the ducklings play a game with their vegetables, Bear starts to eat the strange green things on his plate.

I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato book
#9
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato
Written and illustrated by Lauren Child
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lola is a fussy eater. A very fussy eater. She won’t eat her carrots (until her brother Charlie reveals that they’re orange twiglets from Jupiter). She won’t eat her mashed potatoes (until Charlie explains that they’re cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji). There are many things Lola won’t eat, including - and especially - tomatoes. Or will she? Two endearing siblings star in a witty story about the triumph of imagination over proclivity.

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? book
#10
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?
Written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

How does a dinosaur eat all his food? Does he burp, does he belch, or make noises quite rude? Does he pick at his cereal, throw down his cup, hoping to make someone else pick it up? Just like kids, dinosaurs have a difficult time learning to behave at the table. However, with a little help from Mom and Dad, these young dinosaurs eat all before them with smiles and goodwill.

Monsters Do Not Eat Broccoli book
#11
Monsters Do Not Eat Broccoli
Written by Barbara Jean Hicks and illustrated by Sue Hendra
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Illustrations and rhyming text reveal how imagination can spice up even the healthiest meal.

Now I Eat My ABC's book
#12
Now I Eat My ABC's
Written by Pam Abrams and illustrated by Bruce Wolf
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-3

"Babies and toddlers will love the eye-catching photographs of asparagus, blueberries, peas, strawberries, and more in this yummy alphabet book!"--Cover back.

The Picky Eater book
#13
The Picky Eater
Written by Betsy Parkinson and illustrated by Shane Clester
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Piper the piglet is a very picky eater, who will only eat food beginning with the letter "P"--and somehow her parents must break her of this strange quirk, and get her to eat other good foods.

Bread and Jam for Frances book
#14
Bread and Jam for Frances
Written by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Lillian Hoban
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers

Bread and Jam for Frances is a classic originally published in 1964 about little Frances who loves bread and jam and refuses to try anything else. Eventually, her parents stop offering other food, and after Frances eats bread and jam for breakfast, lunch, after-school snack, and dinner, Frances starts to get tired of it and discovers a new interest in trying new foods. The earliest readers may not appreciate the lesson unless they have some helpful prompting from someone reading with them. But if the reading happens together, it might be a great way to talk about the picky eating together. As a bonus, the book might introduce young readers to some new, old-fashioned words--like the "doily" Frances uses to set out a nice little school lunch picnic.

Frances is a fussy eater. In fact, the only thing she likes is bread and jam. She won't touch her squishy soft-boiled egg. She trades away her chicken-salad sandwich at lunch. She turns up her nose at boring veal cutlets. Unless Mother can come up with a plan, Frances just might go on eating bread and jam forever!

Picky Nicky book
#15
Picky Nicky
Written and illustrated by Mark Dubowski, Cathy East Dubowski
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Picky eater Nicky declares that she would rather eat bees and parrots than peas and carrots until her inventive family devises a clever plan to overcome her finicky habits. Original.

The Runaway Dinner book
#16
The Runaway Dinner
Written by Allan Ahlberg and illustrated by Bruce Ingman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What happens if someone's dinner decides that, well, it doesn't want to be eaten? For a hungry little boy named Banjo and a savory sausage named Melvin, it's a plight that can only result in a breathless escape — and what a chase it is! Off speeds the sturdy sausage — leading fork, knife, and plate, chair and table, a handful of fries with various French names, and three fat little peas — out the door, down the street, and around the park, with poor Banjo taking up the rear. Will the famished boy ever catch them? And what (gulp) happens to Melvin if he does? Allan Ahlberg is in his element with this fast and funny tale, while Bruce Ingman's kid-friendly illustrations add visual comedy to the chase.

The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster book
#17
The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster
Written by Alice Weaver Flaherty and illustrated by Scott Magoon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

A young American girl's picky eating habits transform a small worm into the famous Loch Ness monster. Includes facts about the biology of pickiness.

Mealtime book
#18
Mealtime
Written by Elizabeth Verdick and illustrated by Marieka Heinlen
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Simple text and illustrations explain how to behave during mealtime.

How to Feed Your Parents book
#19
How to Feed Your Parents
Written by Ryan Miller and illustrated by Hatem Aly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Who's feeding whom? Matilda Macaroni loves to try new foods! Unfortunately, her parents don't. They only like pizza delivered, burgers from a bag, and noodles from a box. What's a girl with adventurous tastes to do? The engaging heroine of this fun, twisted picture book manages to turn the tables on her finicky parents and teach them that dinner can be more than chicken nuggets. There's also a recipe for quiche that young cooks can try!

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