Children’s Books with Food Themes

Print Friendly

We are a family of readers, and my boys love the time we spend every day reading stories together. When the boys were very young, I began choosing books about food, wanting to introduce them to a healthy, well-rounded diet as soon as possible. These are some of our family’s favorite books with food themes. The books are geared toward ages 0 to 6 for reading aloud, though some older children could read these on their own. I read these books with all my boys together, and though Monkey Boy (age 2) doesn’t necessarily understand some of the story, he still enjoys looking at the pictures and laughing along with his brothers. If you have children in the 7 to 9 age range, they may still enjoy hearing these stories or may even want to read to their younger siblings.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle

“In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf.”

A caterpillar emerges from the egg and goes in search of food. My boys have fun counting all the things the caterpillar eats.

Read aloud: 0 to 4

Eating the Alphabet, by Lois Ehlert

Eating the Alphabet, by Lois Ehlert

“Aa – artichoke, apricot, avocado, apple, asparagus”

The book takes the reader on an alphabetical journey through fruits and vegetables with colorful abstract illustrations.

Read aloud: 0 to 3

Gregory the Terrible Eater, by Mitchell Sharmat

Gregory the Terrible Eater, by Mitchell Sharmat

“But Gregory was not an average goat. Gregory was a terrible eater.”

A Reading Rainbow book. Gregory’s parents try to figure out why their young goat does not want to eat the family’s regular foods. Funny little story, and my boys always laugh at the things the goats like to eat (tin cans, old shoes, pieces of rug, etc).

Read aloud: 2 to 5

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, by Judi Barrett

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, by Judi Barrett

“After a brief shower of orange juice, low clouds of sunny-side up eggs moved in followed by pieces of toast. Butter and jelly sprinkled down for the toast. And most of the time it rained milk afterwards.”

It’s hard to top this classic. The boys enjoy all the food weather, complete with flying hamburgers. A movie based on this book is scheduled for release in 2010. I don’t know how to feel about that, especially since this is a relatively short children’s book. The movie plot will have be expanded quite a lot.

Read aloud: 3 to 6

Pancakes, Pancakes, by Eric Carle

Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle

“Kee-ke-ri-kee” crowed the rooster. Jack woke up, looked out the window and thought, “I’d like to have a big pancake for breakfast.”

An entertaining way to teach where food comes from. Jack’s mother sends her son off on errands to have the flour ground, gathering eggs, milking the cow, churning the butter, and building the fire, all before he can even start cooking the pancake.

Read aloud: 2 to 6

Curious George Makes Pancakes, by Margaret & H.A. Rey

Curious George Makes Pancakes, by Margret & H.A. Rey

“The line for pancakes was enormous. But with four hands, George made quite a chef—and no one’s plate was empty for long.”

Of all the books about food we have, this one gets the most attention from our boys. We’ve been reading this book at least once a week for the last three years, and the boys still laugh at the thought of George as a “sticky monkey.” In fact, that has become a catch phrase in our home.

Read aloud: 2 to 6

The following books all come from author Gail Gibbons, who has written many nonfiction books for children. These are three of our favorites.

The Vegetables We Eat, by Gail Gibbons

The Vegetables We Eat, by Gail Gibbons

“Look at all the vegetables! Vegetables are the parts of plants that are grown to be eaten. Most are annuals. Some are perennials.”

With bright watercolor illustrations, the book introduces the reader to eight different types of vegetables: leaf, bulb, flower bud, root, tuber, stem, fruit, and seed. Also has a section on growing your own garden.

Read aloud: 2 to 6

The Milk Makers, by Gail Gibbons

The Milk Makers, by Gail Gibbons

“There are five common breeds of dairy cows. The Holstein-Friesian is the most popular because it can produce more milk than other breeds.”

A Reading Rainbow book. Gibbons introduces children to the world of dairy farms, and includes drawings of milking machines. Another excellent, fact-filled book showing where food comes from. Simple illustrations.

Read aloud: 2 to 6

The Honey Makers, by Gail Gibbons

“It is springtime. Two beekeepers have placed a beehive on a hill.”

Beautiful watercolor, pen, and colored pencil illustrations. Includes details about the colonies and the social structure, life cycle, how the bees make the comb and honey, and how humans harvest and use honey. Interesting beekeepers yearbook at the end, diary of hive observations and what beekeepers do to care for the colony.

Read aloud: 3 to 6

[Disclosure: This blog earns a small commission through affiliate links.]


  1. says

    Great post! I’m familiar with some of your picks. When my daughter was little, one of our faves was Yoko, by Rosemary Wells. It’s the sweetest little story about Yoko, the Japanese kitten, who goes to school with her lunch of sushi, etc., and is teased by the other kids for having “icky” food. Then, the class has an “International Food Day” and all the kids bring in foods that reflect their heritage. The whole story is about trying foods from different cultures and tolerance towards people who are “different”. You must read it. It’s priceless!

    Another one I just found recently is How are You Peeling?, by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers. The whole book is a collection of photos of fruits and vegetables with very expressive faces carved into them. It has a simple rhyming text and is intended to teach kids about expressing emotions. I bought it for my nephews who have PDD. It is brilliant!

    Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewys last blog post..TWD: Creme Brulee

  2. says

    Great list! You probably don’t watch too much TV, but there’s a fun kid’s show called Chowder on Cartoon Network that is food-themed. The main character is the apprentice to Chef Mung Daal and all the other characters are named for foods, including Panini, Kimchi and Endive. I think I enjoy it more than the kids do!

  3. says

    The little caterpillar is a classic! My boys loved that book! (Our copy came with a tiny soft caterpillar on a thread that wound it’s way through holes in the book.) So much fun and it’s one of those books that’s a pleasure to read out loud for parents as well.
    This one is another one that was read multiple times, again and again in our house; nothing to do with food (or maybe)

    Baking Sodas last blog post..Het leven beschouwd

  4. Debbie V says

    We love Yoko as well! One that my kids request over and over (and both of them LOVE sushi!)

    Another one of our favorite “food” themed books is “Cookies: Bite Size Life Lessons” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. It has lines like “MODEST means you don’t run around telling everyone you make the best cookies, even if you know it to be true” and “RESPECT means offering the very first cookie to your grandmother.” A GREAT read!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *