We love children’s fiction here at Fork & Fiction. It’s not really a secret. Especially children’s fiction authored by this star (ahem). Recently I’ve been digging the Instagram accounts of people who are fellow kids books lovers, who have alerted me to some great new reads (e.g. When I was Small by Sara O’Leary) or impending new editions (the 150th anniversary edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland illustrated by Anna Rifle Bond!). Yes to Instagram! Yes to children’s fiction!
I have amassed such a large collection of children’s books, especially in the five and a bit years I have been a parent that recently someone walked into the room where I keep them (in a ginormous bookshelf) did a double take and exclaimed “Woah!! Have enough kids books?!” and started laughing hysterically. I don’t know why I am friends with this person. Who thinks there should be a limit on the number of kids books in a house? What breed of a person?! I scowl at such people, scowl I say.
Spurred on by his ridiculous words and howls of laughter I subsequently pored over the titles I currently own to remind myself of the value of every single one. Like a gardener studying her freshly bloomed roses. Sigh. And I did notice a pattern amongst my favourites. You guessed it, FOOD. No surprises there either. So today, to celebrate Children’s Fiction and having “far too much of it” (i.e. just enough and never too bloody much) I bring you a list of my essential foodie fiction favourites that you MUST own for under-fives and which are loveable for over-fives too. These aren’t optional, my friends, these are classics, these are compulsory. Even if you buy them someone else’s under-fives. Even if you already have “too many” (pfffffff. eye roll.) other kids books.
In no particular order…..
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
Somewhat controversial amongst those who don’t like to believe that people are nude under their clothes (Oh my goodness! Ew!) In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak features an illustration of a rudie-nudie kid falling out of his clothes and into dough and being baked into a cake. Utterly, perfectly weird, this is my favourite Sendak.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Few books appeal so timelessly to small children, who love to stick their fingers in the holes made by the caterpillar. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle teaches numbers, days and fruit and warns against overeating on a Saturday. Carle founded a Children’s Picture Book Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts as he believes ” Children’s picture book art is the introduction to art for young people ” which makes him one of my best, most favourite people I have never met.
Never Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child
Charlie and Lola are possibly the best siblings in modern children’s literature. Lola is fussy and stubborn, Charlie is wise and sweet and patient. The older brother you always wanted. I love the illustrations and Child’s knack of capturing the lovely, slightly tangled way that little kids speak in this book, Never Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child. I also love “moonsquirters” and will always eat them.
The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord
A wild scheme to trap a wasp swarm with a gigantic jammy sammy, I LOVE The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord. With great rhymes and truly seventies illustrations, it’s no wonder this book has been in print for thirty years.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
It has been suggested to me that The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr is a smidge sexist (Mummy getting the supper, Daddy working and owning the beer) but that doesn’t stop it being crazy-charming. To me anyway. A tiger comes to the door and politely asks if he can come in for tea… Imagine!
Other foodie fiction for Littles you could (should) add to your collection:
Gorgeous Instagram accounts that feature kids books: