Sage Cookson is a ten-year-old whose parents, Ginger and Basil, travel Australia and the world, and lucky Sally gets to go with them. While they are sampling the food, learning new cooking techniques and then sharing their new knowledge with their massive television audience through their show The Cookson’s Cook On, Sage has a lifestyle that others might envy.
However, in each episode she gets into a scrape that she needs to get out of. In the first book, Sweet Escape there are problems with a famous chocolatier while in Ring of Truth she is accused of stealing a treasured ring. Her friend Lucy travels with her to Crystal Bay in Fishy Surprise but the return of an old adversary causes issues and in Singapore Sensation things go wrong when a lady with pink hair starts to stalk them.
This new series for newly independent younger readers combines the author’s love of television cooking shows and mysteries, so that in each new addition something goes wrong and Sage has to solve the problem. Despite the glamorous backdrops of each story, food is the focus so all the budding Junior Masterchefs can enjoy reading about cooking, trying the recipes which are included and then visiting Sage’s website for more. With four books in the series so far, Sage is going to appeal to a range of young readers who will be able to follow her adventures without having to wait for the next one. Perfect for the upcoming cooler days when reading is the best thing to do.
Benji is a dog that eats anything and everything – no matter what, he has a go at it and even sits in front of the fridge each morning in the hope that it has exploded overnight. Hus young master is not so adventurous – like many of his age he takes his time with new tastes and flavours and can be quite a fussy eater. But he decides to follow Benji’s example and be a little more adventurous as he sees that these foods don’t kill Benji – although they might make his tummy rumble and cause a smell that no one can stand, not even Benji. But there is one thing neither of them will eat…
Told with humour and colourful detailed pictures, this is a charming story for under-5s who aren’t quite sure when something unfamiliar appears on their plate. But it is also an opportunity to talk to them about the things a dog should never eat and should never be given particularly pig products, milk, onions and chocolate because they are toxic to them. Taking care of a pet is more than a daily walk and a brush every now and then.
Given the new research that shows the food that toddlers eat has a profound effect on their lives long-term particularly their likelihood of being overweight or obese, any books that start conversations with them about nutrition and what they and their pets need to be healthy and active has to be a winner. Thumbs up for this one.
Van Amsterdam the baker was well known for his honesty as well as for his fine Saint Nicholas cookies, which were made of gingerbread and iced just as people imagine St Nicholas to look like. When his made the cookies he weighed his ingredients meticulously and always gave his customers exactly what they paid for — not more, and not less. They were very happy and Van Amsterdam was very successful.
But one day a mysterious old woman in a black shawl came into the shop and demanded that Van Amsterdam give her thirteen biscuits because that was how many were in a ‘baker’s dozen’. Van Amsterdam refused so the old woman left without her cookies but as she left she told Van Amsterdam “Fall again, mount again, learn how to count again.”
From that day, business went downhill and Van Amsterdam was left almost penniless and with no customers. Then one night he is visited by St Nicholas in a dream and he learns a lesson about being generous.
This is a retelling of an old tale that goes back into history with the first recorded version being noted in 1896. Accompanied by exquisite illustrations it brings yet another legend associated with Christmas to life and underscores the need to be unselfish at this time. It includes a recipe for St Nicholas cookies and a Readers Theatre script
It is the Great Depression and Jack is missing his father who has gone West to work, desperately – even moreso now that he knows he won’t be home for Christmas. As he walks into the kitchen on Christmas Eve, he smells sweet bread and licorice but there haven’t been cookies in the cookie jar for over a year. But tonight his mother has decided to make traditional Christmas cookies for the needy at church, although Jack would rather have them for himself. The wooden cookie boards with their Nativity moulds are brought out and as she bakes, his mother tells him the story of Christ’s birth through the shapes, just as was done in medieval times when people were too poor to go to school to read.
Next day, they take the cookies to church, but to Jack’s delight his mother has saved him the angel one that he liked so much. But just as he is about to take a bit, there is a knock on the door….
In the Scwaben region of Southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland these cookie moulds – or springerle moulds – were used to press into biscuit dough and this story is built on that. While not necessarily a regular custom in Australian homes, it is common in the US and it is yet another tale associated with the traditions of Christmas that is worth exploring and discussing the virtue of selflessness and giving rather than receiving. It does have a strong Christian bent although the message of helping others in need is universal regardless of beliefs. The back flap includes a recipe for Christmas cookies and while the wooden moulds may be hard to obtain, there are enough Christmas shapes available to start a new family tradition.
Imagine opening your lunchbox and finding almond joy popcorn; cream cheese pinwheels and a melon and grape fruit salad. Or quinoa cookie bites, chopped Thai chicken salad and a homemade ranh dip. Or any one of the 27 000 three-course combinations embracing whole grains, proteins and fruit and veggies that can be made from this glossy mix and match flip book.
With Term 4 here and another 10 weeks of school lunches looming, this is a timely release that lit up Miss 10’s eyes as soon as she saw it because there was nothing too difficult for her to make here.
Beginning with an explanation of why a healthy lunch is important and then the role that the four food groups play in achieving it, it continues with a section on the perfect lunchbox so that everything stays fresh and cool and then helps with time and menu management by helping to plan ahead and food preparation.
Each suggestion comes complete with coloured photo and the recipe at the side using simple, easily available fresh ingredients so that the lunchbox looks appealing, is healthy and satisfying. No more dumping soggy sangers in the nearest bin!!
Having looked at it thoroughly, Miss 10 and Miss 5 (who could easily help because of the simplicity of the suggestions) were heard to say that they wished school was back already!
Definitely one to promote to parents not only looking for new ideas but also ways that will encourage the children to join in the preparation and perhaps start them on their cooking journey.
“I’m so famishing, I’m vanishing,” moaned the mahoosive mammoth when he woke up early in the morning with an empty tummy. But even though his friend Bug finds and feeds him an enormous amount of food through breakfast, a snack, brunch and lunch, and afternoon tea at the seaside the mahoosive mammoth is still hungry and nothing will satisfy the funny feeling deep inside.
But Bug is clever and realises why his friend is always hungry – and comes up with the perfect solution. And Mammoth finally fixes that funny feeling inside.
This bright, colourful story-in-rhyme moves along at a fast clip and young readers will be astonished at how much food can be eaten by one creature in one day! They will delight in the language – watch ‘mahoosive’ become part of their vocabulary – and have fun thinking of new snacks that might fix that funny feeling or imagining the consequences if the mammoth’s tummy does pop!
Just as cars and trains and boats and planes need fuel to keep them going, so do our bodies. But while vehicles need only one sort of fuel, our bodies operate best on a variety of foods from a variety of sources so that all its myriad parts can operate with maximum efficiency. Many young children, particularly those who live in the cities, go to the supermarket with their parents and carers and see their food being bought but they don’t often realise how it has got to be on the shelves in the first place.
This story-in-rhyme helps to explain the process and the journey from paddock to plate of some of the more common foods the children eat. Starting with breakfast where eggs and milk are tracked, different staples for each meal are investigated in a series of clear vignettes that helps the very young child understand the connection between what they eat and where it comes from.
Using familiar scenes such as the breakfast table, a picnic and a family dinner there are many foods on display and while only a couple are featured in the explanations, there is plenty of scope to consider where others might come from. If the bananas start on plants, what other foods in the pictures might come from plants? Would they have a similar journey? What about the cupcakes or the sausages?
There is also a page devoted to the common foods that some people cannot eat which makes food intolerances more ‘mainstream’ and perhaps better understood.
This book is an opportunity to start the children thinking about what they eat, what the best choices might be, sorting them into food groups, identifying and graphing not only their favourites but also mapping what they eat each day and maybe changing the proportions if their pie graph is a bit skewed. It might even be the beginning of the child’s desire to produce their own food either in a home or school garden as well as introducing plant life cycles and the notion of seasonal produce.
This is the latest in this series of excellent titles which helps our very young children begin to understand the world around them as well as helping them understand the differences between fiction and non fiction.