Food

13 Picture Books That Might Actually Turn Your Kid Into A Good Eater

These stories are delicious!

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

People think that because I’m a food editor, my kid must be an adventurous eater.

It doesn’t really work that way! I do expose my one-year-old daughter to a wide variety of foods—basically, everything that I eat, I offer her. But has that made her into a good eater? Not reeeeeeally. I mean, she’ll take down an entire avocado, but when I give her a piece of roast chicken or a meatball, she looks at me like she’s pretty sure she’s adopted.

That’s why I read her lots of fun picture books about food — because they’re great books, and because maybe they’ll make her curious enough to try something new.

Here are 13 of my favorites:

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Philomel Books / Amazon

The best part of this book is when the caterpillar goes on a crazy binge and eats through a piece of chocolate cake, an ice-cream cone, a pickle, a slice of Swiss cheese, a slice of salami, a lollipop, a piece of cherry pie, a sausage, a cupcake, and a slice of watermelon. Then he gets a stomachache. It’s okay though, because—spoiler alert—at the end he turns into a butterfly. Buy it here.

2. A Little Bit of Soul Food by Amy Wilson Sanger

Tricycle Press / Amazon

From Amy Wilson Sanger’s fabulous World Snacks series, this board book is all about a soul food family potluck—biscuits and gravy, grits, gumbo and fried chicken. The beautifully textured art is made of quilted fabrics. Super cool for toddlers. Buy it here.

3. Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak

Harper Collins / Amazon

Most people know Maurice Sendak’s dreamy, surreal classic In the Night Kitchen, but this one is less-known and just as wonderful. Each month gets a weirdly sweet little poem about chicken soup with rice. “In March the wind blows down the door and spills my soup upon the floor. It laps it up and roars for more.” Buy it here.

4. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Puffin Books / Amazon

Old school: Originally published in 1948, this book tells the story of a little girl who goes blueberry picking with her mom and hijinks ensue. Hijinks involving a bear. Everyone makes it out alive and gets to eat blueberries, so don’t worry. Buy it here.

5. Bee-Bim Bop! by Ho Baek Lee

HMH Books for Young Readers / Amazon

A little girl helps her mom make the Korean rice dish bi bim bop and then the whole family sits down to eat. There’s even a bonus kid-friendly bi bim bop recipe at the end. Plus, it’s really fun to say bee! bim! bop! over and over again. Buy it here.

6. Stone Soup by Marcia Brown

Aladdin Picture Books / Amazon

This classic comes from an old French folktale about making a delicious soup with just a stone and some ingenuity. Buy it here.

7. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

Dial Books / Amazon

You DON’T want to see what happens when a dragon gets heartburn. Buy it here.

8. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

Atheneum Books for Young Readers / Amazon

In the land of Chewandswallow, the weather is edible, which is great for a while, but then things get out of hand. (Ahem, climate change.) It’s fun to talk about what YOU would like to have fall from the sky. Buy it here.

9. Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban

Harper Collins / Amazon

Frances is a little badger who only wants to eat bread and jam—until her mom starts serving her nothing but bread and jam for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Buy it here.

10. Chaat and Sweets by Amy Wilson Sanger

Tricycle Press / Amazon

This sweet little board book for toddlers is all about Indian street food and snacks like papri chaat, idili and bhel puri. The collage-style art by author Amy Wilson Sanger (who has a whole World Snacks series) is gorgeous and fun. Buy it here.

11. Green Eggs and Ham By Dr. Suess

Random House / Amazon

They’re so good! So good, you see. Buy it here.

12. Gregory, The Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat

Scholastic / Amazon

Gregory is a goat. But instead of eating bottles and old shoes, like his parents, he only wants to eat junk food, like fish and carrots. Get it? Buy it here.

13. Strega Nona By Tomie dePaola

Little Simon / Amazon

NEVER touch the magic pasta pot! Buy it here.

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