Friday, August 28, 2015

Storybook Cooks ~By Suzy Leopold

From the Desk of Rebecca Colby:

Thank you for having me on the GROG Blog today! I appreciate the opportunity to write about two things that are near and dear to my heart:  


BOOKS and FOOD. 

For me, there’s nothing like the thrill and enjoyment of sharing a good story.

. . . Except perhaps the thrill and enjoyment of sharing a tasty treat! 

Let’s face it. We all love to eat. And we all have to eat. So what better way could there be to extend the pleasure of storybooks than through cooking—and eating?!
One of my eldest daughter’s favorite school clubs when she was younger was the Storybook Cooks’ Club. Each week the teacher read a new story to the children. After the reading, she assisted the children in preparing a relevant food. 

Mr. Wolf's Pancakes
By Jan Fearnley

One week my daughter came home with a jam sandwich (The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord and Janet Burroway). Another week she brought home a pancake (Mr. Wolf’s Pancakes by Jan Fearnley). 

A third week it was pizza (Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig). And every week she came home with a huge smile and couldn’t wait to tell the rest of the family about her day. (This may not sound unusual to you, but trust me, any other time I’d ask her what she’d done in school and she would merely reply, “Nothing!” So it was fantastic to have her come home wanting to talk about something she’d done at school.)



If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
Written by Laura Numeroff
Illustrated by Felicia Bond



When I became a teacher, I borrowed this same idea. My students made healthy milkshakes after reading Oliver’s Milkshake by Vivian French. They also decorated cookies after reading If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. They loved combining reading time with food preparation, and the story stayed with them longer. 









There are many other books with obvious cooking connections like The Gingerbread Man, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and even Green Eggs and Ham. But what about those books that have less obvious connections and don’t feature food? This is when you can actually have more fun with children in the kitchen. This is when you have the opportunity to stretch your creative muscles and use your imagination to cook up something new. 

For example, my debut book, There was a Wee Lassie who Swallowed a Midgie, is a Scottish version of the classic rhyme about the old lady who swallows a fly. While the Wee Lassie eats something on every page, she doesn’t eat anything appropriate for children. 

There was a Wee Lassie who Swalled a Midgie
Written by Rebecca Colby
Illustrated by Kate McLelland
So this got me thinking—what food would be appropriate for a Wee Lassie? Haggis? Porridge? Cock-a-leekie soup? She’d probably eat all of these things. But what would be fun for children to make? 
Why Midgie Shortbread, of course! 

I immediately set to work on a shortbread recipe. My children then helped me make the shortbread, stirring in chocolate sprinkles to represent the midgies. There is no shortbread in the book, but I was still able to find an appropriate cooking activity by getting creative. 

My recently released book is about a witch parade and it’s called It’s Raining Bats and Frogs. While frog legs are a perfectly acceptable food (especially for witches), I don’t know many children who want to eat them. But that doesn’t mean they can’t cook up some other inspired witchy treats. Perhaps they’d like spaghetti worms or grape eyeballs? Or how about some bread stick witch fingers? Or some cheese dip bat bites? Children won’t forget this book anytime soon if they make a witchy menu to accompany it. And speaking of witches, here is a clue for the scavenger hunt: Tabitha. 
It's Raining Bats & Frogs
Written by Rebecca Colby
Illustrated by Steven Henry
There are other benefits to cooking extension activities, as well. They allow children to learn about nutrition and food safety. As a teacher, I especially liked that cooking activities provided opportunities for cross-curricular learning. My students were able to practice their English and Math skills without even realizing it--by following recipe instructions and carefully measuring ingredients.  

I hope I’ve given you plenty of ideas to get started cooking up your own storybook recipes. But if you’re still stuck for ideas, check out this gem of a book I found when I was teaching:

The Little Book of Cooking from Stories: Ideas for Cooking with Early Years Foundation Stage Children, Using Stories as Starting Points by Sally Featherstone, London: A & C Black, 2009. 
The Little Book of Cooking from Stories
By Sally Featherstone
It has ideas and recipes to accompany 27 different storybooks, making recipes as diverse as vegetable soup to chapattis to jam tarts.  It’s sure to inspire you! 

So what are you waiting for? Grab a book and a child and get cooking!

Rebecca Colby
Rebecca Colby is a picture book author and poet. Her books include: It's Raining Bats and Frogs (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillain, 2015) and There was a Wee Laslie Who Swalloed a Midgie (Floris Picture Kelpies, 2014).

Before writing for children, Rebecca inspected pantyhose, and taught English in Taiwan, worked for a Russian comedian and traveled the world as a tour director. 

Learn more about Rebecca and It’s Raining Bats & Frogs Blog Tour and On-line Scavenger Hunt with a total of eight bloggers. 

Visit Rebecca on her website.

Follow Rebecca on Twitter.


Enter the Giveaway 
below to win a copy of 
It's Raining Bats and Frogs.

Thank you Rebecca for your delightful and informative ideas and the opportunity to participate in the On-line Scavenger Hunt. The combination of books and food are a favorite of mine, also. I picked this flower for you.
Woo Hoo! The winner is: 
Damon Dean!
Thank you for your blog comment 
and tweeting about the post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

84 comments:

  1. So fun! I love finding cute foods to go with books! Congrats on the new book, Rebecca!

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    1. Hi Tina: I'm sure you and your kids enjoy reading and cooking together. Perhaps you could create some snack items with your students in school this year. While in the classroom, I shared many storybooks that cook. A favorite was the book by Linda Sue Park, Bee-bim Bop! The kids enjoyed eating this tasty Korean dish. ~Suzy

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  2. Thank you, Tina! We love ANY food that goes with books at our house. ;)

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  3. What a neat post. Making me wish I had some little ones to try this out on. Food and books and cooks.

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    1. Thanks, Sherri! How about volunteering to run a storybook cooking session for the public? Schools and libraries in my area are always looking for volunteers to run sessions like these.

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    2. Thank you, Sherri, for reading all about food and books. Cooking with kids teaches so many lessons.
      ~Suzy

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  4. Oh, goodie! I'm actually working on an MG novel about a king who likes to cook. It will have recipes! :)

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    1. Fantastic! You'll be in a perfect position to develop cooking extension activities for your book, Lily. Thanks for stopping by and all the best with your writing!

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    2. Your novel about a king who likes to cook sounds delightful, Lily. Now, I am curious and wonder what royal dishes he is stirring up.
      ~Suzy

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  5. What a lovely post. I love food and books

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    1. Cheers, Priya! Pardon the expression, but nothing beats food and books in my book! ;)

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    2. Thank you, Priya. Food + Books = Fun.
      ~Suzy

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  6. Two loves of mine, also - food and reading. Also, really am looking forward to reading Raining Bats & Frogs.

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    1. And aren't they just the perfect combo?! Thanks, Kathy, and I hope you enjoy It's Raining Bats & Frogs!

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    2. Be sure to enjoy your bat snack while reading It's Raining Bats & Frogs, Kathy.

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  7. What a fun post and I love the idea of a food/story connection. Vivian Kirkfield does this wonderfully in her book: SHOW ME HOW: BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING. I would love to win a copy of Bats&Frogs.

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Darlene! I know of Vivian but I wasn't aware of her book. It's now on my Amazon wishlist. :) Many thanks!

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    2. As I'm sure you know, Darlene, inspiring the love of reading and cooking with our kids is a great learning experience. It instills life long skills of reading and preparing delicious food.
      ~Suzy

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  8. I tried to enter the give-away and wasn't able to do so. Help?

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    1. Yes, I noticed the Rafflecopter wasn't working and I've messaged Suzy. Hopefully she can sort it soon. Very sorry for the inconvenience.

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    2. Please try again, Darlene. Sincere apologies.

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  9. Eating and reading -- my two favorite things! Especially when combined! Fun post -- interesting book!

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    1. Linda: Just like you, my favorite things to do are eating and reading. The combination of reading & eating just seem to go together. There are many important lessons for kids by combining these two activities.
      ~Suzy

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    2. Definitely a winning combo for many people! And so important for children in helping them to learn everyday life skills in a fun way. Thanks, Linda!

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  10. UPDATE: The Rafflecopter should be working now. Enter to win by posting a comment about the blog and/or tweeting about this blog entry. Sincere apologies for any inconvenience. Good luck.
    ~Suzy Leopold

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  11. Books and food are faves of mine too, Rebecca! Thanks for the creative ideas!

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    1. Kids who cook and read acquire new knowledge and learning for sure, Penny. I wonder what a knight could cook up before he is swallowed up by a dragon!
      ~Suzy

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    2. Thanks, Penny! I can't wait to see what recipes you cook up in your next book! I think your second title will be perfect for cooking activities.

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  12. Yay, books! Yay, food! Another PB that blends these wonderfully is A FINE DESSERT. Congrats on your new release, Rebecca.

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    1. Yay, Lori! I'd not heard of this book yet but I've just pulled up the details and I like the sounds of it and the idea of making blackberry fool. Off to read more about it now... And many thanks for the recommendation!

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    2. A Fine Dessert is truly a fascinating book. Thank you, Lori.

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  13. Congrats on the book, Rebecca :) I look forward to reading it. Your post made me smile as I remembered making Pink Le Choc with my friend. We had a great time with some pink lemonade and chocolate syrup. We even drank it-LOL.

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    1. Oh my, Charlotte! Pink lemonade and chocolate syrup sounds like an interesting concoction.
      ~Suzy

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    2. Ewww, Charlotte! I love chocolate in ALMOST every form, but probably not in lemonade.

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    3. Ha! What a combo! But then again, doesn't everything mixed with chocolate taste good?! Cheers, Charlotte!

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  14. Hoping to get my hands on your newest book soon, Rebecca! I have a food story, too, but it is waiting for the right publisher to snatch it up. :) I'll have to think of some fun food activities to accompany the story. Thanks for the fun post!

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    1. You are sure to love Rebecca's book, Carrie. Best wishes as you create food activities to accompany your story about food. I'm certain it must be a story that needs to be told.
      ~Suzy

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    2. Thanks, Carrie! I hope your food story is snatched up soon and have fun creating related food activities!

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  15. I love books with food in them.... "Dragons Love Tacos!" I hope to write a sequel to "Are You My Mother" - think I'll call it "I'm Nacho Mama". Can't wait to read "It's Raining Bats & Frogs"

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    1. "Dragons Love Tacos!" is an outstanding book reccommendation, Sue. Your sequel idea sounds amazing, "Nacho Mama". I know you will enjoy reading "It's Raining Bats & Frogs".
      ~Sue AKA Suzy

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    2. Hilarious! That's a title that will make heads turn...and tummies rumble. And it will give the mother bird the opportunity to explain her side of the story and why she left the nest. ;) I can't believe I haven't read 'Dragons Love Tacos' yet. I've got to get hold of a copy. Many thanks, Sue!

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  16. What a great idea, Rebecca! I love the Midgie Shortbread idea -- so clever. Cooking and books are a great combo. So happy for your release of It's Raining Bats and Frogs, and can't wait to get my very own copy.

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    1. Thank you, Patricia! My girls made Midgie Shortbread for months afterwards. They want me to find a sweet cooking option for Bats & Frogs now too, as opposed to the savoury Bat Bites. :) Cooking and books are certainly a winning combo--and one that enhances a child's reading (and eating) experience.

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    2. Thank you, Patty. I think I need a tasty snack of shortbread to munch on while I read my book, A Million Little Ways-Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live By Emily P. Freeman.

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  17. Another tasty post, Rebecca! And such great ideas, along with the added ideas from comments above! (Charlotte...I am sold on the chocolate syrup-pink lemonade...my next Sonic drink!) Thanks for hosting this post, Suzy. Now, back to stirring my word-brew...

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    1. I'm munching on a delightful cinnamon raisin bagel as I read the many thoughtful comments, Damon. All the best with your word-brew. Make sure it simmers and before you know it you will have a well done story.
      ~Suzy

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  18. Many thanks, Damon! I've enjoyed all the tasty recommendations in the comments, and my eldest insists we must try Charlotte's Pink Le Choc soon. :)

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  19. Mmmm. Food and books, my two favorite things. :) I reserved Bats and Frogs at my library and can't wait for it to come in.

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    1. Oh yes! Those who don't know about the yummy combination of food and books are missing out for sure, RG. Thank you for your comment on our GROG Blog.
      ~Suzy

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    2. Mmm, mmm, good! One of my favorite pics of my eldest is from when she was 6 months old chewing on her books. Thanks for reserving Bats & Frogs! Libraries are the best!

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  20. Tasty post!
    Gre8t good fun with the new one's book launch, Rebecca Colby. This is your season & without seeing this post (have been away) another new post here features you also!!!

    Your article brings me back to the days of the Betty Crocker Junior cookbooks for kids & making faces with half slices of pears, cheese & raisens & other silly recipes. So much fun to remember.

    The group's added titles are tantilizing -
    Bee-bim Bop! from Linda Sue Park
    Vivian Kirkfield's Show Me How
    Dragon's Love Tacos! (is that out or is it one Sue is writing?)

    Have several new ones to look up from your recommendations Rebecca & can't wait to cook with ITS RAINING FROGS & TOADS. I think you may get some recipe ideas for that from Roald Dahls' Vile Verses & another good source would be Jane Yolen & Heidi E.Y. Stempl's Fairy Tale Feasts.

    Hope you will return to the Group Blog again! Suzy thank you for inviting Rebecca.

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    1. addition - the Roald Dahl title is Revolting Recipes! tnx.

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    2. Thank you, Jan, for your postive thoughts and comments. My students and I enjoyed making and eating Bee-bim Bop in our classroom. Of course, they loved the book and trying new foods. Adam Rubin is the author of Dragon's Love Tacos.

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  21. Enjoying following this tour and the scavenger hunt!! Thank you!

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    1. Thank you, Nikolina. Rebecca Colby's new book, It's Raining Bats & Frogs is sure to be a hit.
      ~Suzy

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  22. I should really get that cook book and spend some time with my little cousins cooking,enough of the house demolishing.

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    1. May you and your cousins enjoy reading and cooking together, Darija.
      ~Suzy

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  23. I’m following the scavenger hunt, thank you for this cool game you organised!!!

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    1. Thank you, Dario. Good luck with the scavenger hunt.
      ~Suzy

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    1. Have fun scavenger hunting, Guru On a Mountain. Thank you for reading this GROG Blog post.
      ~Suzy

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  25. Lovely giveaway and enjoying the scavenger hunt

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    1. Thank you, Jade, for your support of Rebecca Colby and the GROG Blog.
      ~Suzy

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  26. Enjoying reading about these lovely books whilst scavenger hunting!

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    1. Best wishes to you, Laura, as you participate in the scavenger hunt. Thank you.
      ~Suzy

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  27. What great blogs! Enjoying them and the hunt.

    Suzie W

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    1. Rebecca: does an outstanding job at encouraging imagination and fun for kids. Thank you for read our GROG Blog.
      ~Suzy

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    1. Thank you, Wes, for your support of Rebecca and her delightful books.
      ~Suzy

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    1. You are welcome, Mike. Thank you for supporting Rebecca on our GROG Blog.
      ~Suzy

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  31. on the scavenger hunt whoo hoo!!
    Elisha

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    1. Good luck on the scavenger hunt, Elisha.

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    1. And a fun hunt it is, Kirsty. Thank you.

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    1. May your hunt be successful, Jo. Thank you for reading our GROG Blog post.

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  34. What a brilliant idea! Love the bat :)

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    1. Brilliant! That's an excellent adjective for Rebecca.

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  35. Currently scavenger hunting :) 🎃 👻

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  36. A big thank you to everyone for stopping by to read the post and for your kind comments. And good luck to those of you participating in the scavenger hunt. Results will be announced soon!

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