Skip to main content

Let's Cook Italian: A Family Cookbook by Anna Pradoni, illustrations by Emanuela Ligabue, 96 pp, RK: 3

I love to cook and I love to feed family and friends. My maternal grandparents were Italian and my grandmother had her own catering business and dreams of running her own restaurant. Family gatherings at her house were always a treat and she was always trying something new. Of course this is a love that I wanted to pass on to my three children, but it was very hard to find cookbooks for kids that appealed to my tastes and theirs, had an appealing format and had recipes that kids could actually make. In fact, I only reviewed ONE cookbook that met these standards in the first seven years of this blog - Kitchen for Kids by Jennifer Low. However, last year I discovered Quarto Books, a publisher of non-fiction books that "educate, entertain and enrich" the lives of their readers. Their books for kids are especially excellent, whether the subject is cooking, science, gardening, music, art or doodling. And, while I usually prefer a cookbook with photographs, their three Family Cookbooks are wonderful, especially because they are bilingual!

Let's Cook Italian: A Family Cookbook by Anna Prandoni with illustrations by Emanuela Ligabue has a fantastic format, as do all three books in this series. Imagine a large format paperback book (see the yellow and brown spine in the picture to the left) that has had two thick cardboard covered slapped onto it. Not only does this book look great and promise to hold up well in little (messy) hands as well as in the kitchen, the format allows it to lay flat when opened or stand up by itself!

Let's Cook Italian is divided into six sections: Starters, First Course, Vegetables, Second Course, Desserts and Snacks. The page layout begins with the name of the recipe, followed by a box with the ingredients on the right and four crucial pieces of information: servings, prep time, cooking time and degree of difficulty. On the left hand side of the page are two boxes, one that describes the recipe and another titled, "With the Kids," which shares childhood kitchen memories Pradoni as well as ideas to engage your kids in the kitchen. The recto and the verso pages are identical, with the recto in English and the verso in Italian with one exception - a small box with three words in translation appears on one page or the other for each recipe pair.

Most recipes have six ingredients or less and are varied and traditional. There is Veal in Tuna Sauce, Tuscan Tomato Bread Soup, and Stuffed Zuchinni. Second Course dishes include Milk-Braised Veal Roast, Steak Pizzaiola and Cod Marchigiana Style. Desserts feature, of course, Tiramisù, as well as Piedmontese Chocolate Pudding, Stuffed Peaches and Heavenly Cake, a lemon cake made fluffy from whipped egg whites. For a sample recipe, try the Vermicelli

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…