This post was created in partnership with Annie's Homegrown
I sometimes joke that I would hard-pressed to decide whether I like food or books better.
So of course, there's nothing I like better than a book about food. This doesn't just hold true for adult books about food, nutrition, cooking, and eating, but also picture books.
There's just something so delightful about reading a book with beautiful and colorful illustrations of foods, and the people and animals that love that food.
These are a handful of our family favorites:
This one is new to our family, but I picked it up after seeing it recommended somewhere and this clever rhyming story about Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast racing each other through the refrigerator to gobble up the last drop of maple syrup has been hugely popular at our house. I love the brightly colored illustrations and all the anthropomorphized foods in the fridge.
Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
How can you not love wise Strega Nona and greedy Big Anthony who will stop at nothing to try out the magic pasta pot? I never fail to get a little giggle when I see Big Anthony's enormous swollen stomach after he's forced to eat an entire village's worth of pasta.
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach
When a sandwich goes missing from a park bench, the only logical explanation is that a bear wandered into the city, discovered this delicious treat, and scarfed it up before returning to the forest. Obviously. Hello, unreliable narrator!
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
For me, this is the ultimate book about food. I love Sal and her mother going to pick blueberries to can for winter and then getting mixed up with a mother bear and her cub who are gorging on blueberries to keep them going through winter hibernation. There's also something really satisfying about saying "kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk!"
The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli
Who hasn't lived in fear, at least a little bit, when they swallow a watermelon seed as a child? This crocodile loves watermelon - he can't get ENOUGH of that frosty red fruit - until he swallows a seed and, in utter terror, swears them off forever.
Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban and Lillian Hoban
Frances, I love you forever. Whenever I think about picture books with food, I always think of Frances first - every meal her family eats or lunch her mother packs is just beyond amazing. Someday, I'd like to host a Frances party and serve little sandwiches and cups of soup, with doilies, violets, and tiny salt and pepper shakers for everyone.
The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord
I hadn't seen this book in YEARS until I noticed a library copy with a CD in it at the library a few weeks ago. When a town is plagued by an infestation of bees, they decide to bake a giant loaf of bread, slather it with jam and trap all the bees. The whole idea is just so ridiculous and amazing.
Of course, I want snack time to be just as fun as a big stack of books, and my girls have been obsessed with the Annie's new Really Peely Fruit Tape (okay, so have Bart and I. . .).
My girls love it, and I love that it doesn't have any artificial flavors, synthetic colors or high fructose corn syrup. Plus is there anything more fun than peeling that fruit tape off the paper strip? I think not. What is it about that that's so fun? Even as an adult, it's just really gratifying.
This is basically a home-run afternoon in my book - a stack of my favorite picture books, plus a snack made with ingredients I can pronounce that no one turns up their nose at.
And if you have favorite picture books with a food focus, you know I will be maxing out my library cards immediately with all your suggestions.