Children’s Non-Fiction Reviews: The No-Cook Cookbook and Guinea Pigs Go Gardening

Hello everyone! Welcome to a brand new post featuring reviews of two wonderful titles courtesy of friends at DK Children and Penguin Random House Canada. I will be taking a look at: The No-Cook Cookbook: More than 50 heat-free recipes for young chefs, recipes by Rebecca Woollard; as well as Guinea Pigs Go Gardening by Kate Sheehy. Happy (and tasty!) reading!

If you have been on the lookout for an organized, just-right for kids, fresh new children’s cookbook, then The No-Cook Cookbook: More than 50 heat-free recipes for young chefs by Rebecca Woollard is a top pick. A full-colour hardcover book (around average picture book size), coming in at just under 130 pages, The No-Cook Cookbook is a bright, sturdy, instructional, and super appealing cookbook for kids (and families!) looking to learn and test out their skills in the kitchen. And a super bonus about the recipes in this book: everything is made without the use of a heating element! (One major kitchen safety concern- eliminated!). Before the recipes begin, The No-Cook Cookbook takes time- in clear, labelled photographic spreads to go over: “How the Book Works”; “Kitchen Rules” (including notes about hygiene, tools, kitchen safety, and taking extra caution with sharp utensils and electrical equipment like blenders, etc.); “Tools” needed; and a wonderfully outlined “Techniques” section (including a very useful and handy ‘How to hold a knife’ section, all about zesting, removing an avocado pit, etc.). From a chopped salad and mini trifles to gazpacho, zucchini noodles, shrimp butter pots, and chicken and mango boats to watermelon slush drinks, there should be something (or many things!) for every chef to test out and taste, whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner or in-between. Every recipe included shows: preparation time, number of servings, ingredients and tools needed, notes (e.g. options for swapping ingredients if needed, etc.), and clearly numbered steps with a warning/alert sign if sharps tools or things like blenders are needed). Throughout the cookbook there are also guides for gardening- for enthusiastic young chefs that might like, for example, to grow their own strawberries, or spinach, or carrots. These ‘grow your own’ sections are also just as detailed as the recipe pages with: temperature notes, when to plant, tools needed, steps to plant and how to take care of your growing garden goodies, as well as which recipes (and the pages!) these fresh ingredients can be used in. Truthfully, not only is my six year old in love with this book (we have pretty much all of the recipes noted to test out or to keep trying out!), but I adore it as well. If you are like me and are interested in learning more straightforward recipes, more family-friendly AND fresh-ingredient recipes, then this is cookbook is a dream. Author Rebeca Woollard, along with designer Charlotte Jennings, and photographer Ruth Jenkinson (and the rest of the team!) have done a super job with this book. Highly recommended! Note: Back matter includes: Glossary and Index.

A cheerful book about gardening that reads as smoothly as a picture book, author-illustrator Kate Sheehy’s Guinea Pigs Go Gardening is an adorable and educational read. Guinea pigs Bob and Ginger love “to work in their garden” and each winter “the two guinea pigs [decide] what they were going to grow the next year”. Readers get to see into all of the planning that goes into Ginger and Bob’s plans for their garden: preparing the soil, weeding, raking, turning over the soil, adding compost, measuring, sowing seeds, and drawing “a big chart on their blackboard so that they would know when to harvest everything”. The illustrated spreads not only show Bob and Ginger undertaking all of these tasks as they chat away, but also include concise educational notes about how things like composting works, why worms are good for the soil, as well as labels for all of the gardening tools that the guinea pigs use. Guinea Pigs Go Gardening also shows readers that things can go wrong in gardening- even when you might have everything planned out to perfection. Bob and Ginger experience problems with slugs, weeds cropping up, as well as pigeons trying to munch their strawberries- but readers are shown how Bob and Ginger can work through and solve these problems using simple steps. Guinea Pigs Go Gardening leads readers to a sweet ending of Bob and Ginger happily sharing and tasting the goods of their multiple crops from earlier summer through to the fall. Supremely charming in its presentation and how it balances its story-like structure with instructional elements, Kate Sheehy’s Guinea Pigs Go Gardening is an inviting, adorable treat that is likely to inspire or invigorate gardeners (…or possibly guinea pig fans!) of all ages. Bonus: Front endpapers include a spread of “Bob and Ginger’s Gardening Tips”; back endpapers include a spread explaining steps of pollination, and a side note and illustration of different kinds of pollinators.

I received copies of these titles courtesy of DK Children (Dorling Kindersley Limited)/Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions and comments are my own. Titles have been published and are currently available.

Author: michelle@fabbookreviews

Reference & Children's Librarian. Reader. Reviewer.

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