Jun 122024
Siddhanth’s Fictional Feast! #kbcbookbingo2024  (3-7 years)
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This year’s freedom to choose our own book bingo theme really got our creative juices churning. Food and literature are closely intertwined and we couldn’t resist coming up with this decadent listicle. These books capture the essence of love, nostalgia, humor and empathy and we hope these books will make you crave for more!

Books have played a huge role in Sid’s development and we are forever indebted to our dearest KBC for playing a pivotal role in this!

Please dive in and enjoy the fictional feast! Wishing all our readers many wonderful reads and delicious eats.

Presenting Our Favourite Books Centred Around Food!

  1. Bumoni’s Banana Trees
    Written by: Mita Bordoloi
    Illustrated by: Tarique Aziz
    Published by: Tota books
    Age recommendation: 3-6 years

    This is a heartwarming tale, originally in Assamese, about young Bumoni whose family grows bananas on the fringes of the Kaziranga National Park. We learn about the versatility of the banana tree: the fruit is eaten, the stem is used to make bowls, and the blossoms are used to make a curry! However when wild elephants from a neighbouring forest trample into Bumoni’s family’s plantation to feast on their bananas, what do they do? This award-winning story with its colourful illustrations teaches us about empathy and kindness towards animals.

2. Thukpa For All
Written by: Praba Ram and Sheela Preuitt
Illustrated by: Shilpa Ranade
Published by: Karadi Tales
Age recommendation: 3-7 years

This award-winning book with its stunning illustrations is a delicious offering of love, empathy and a sense of community. Set against the picturesque landscapes of Ladakh, Thukpa for All is about a young boy, Tsering who is heading home to eat his Abi’s (Grandmother) hearty thukpa (a noodle soup). On the way, he meets and invites several friends to come home and share the hot thukpa. An untimely power cut reveals that young Tsering is visually impaired. He helps Abi finish making the delicious meal in the darkness. This book is a wonderful way to introduce the concepts of kindness and kinship to our kids. It also introduces the idea of sensitivity and empathy to those with disabilities.

“Hot, hot thukpa! Hearty, chunky thukpa Yummy, spicy thukpa”

3. My Grandmother Can’t Cook Written by: Indu Balachandran Illustrated by: Priya Kuriyan Age recommendation: 5-8 years Grandmothers are stereotypically renowned for cooking delicious dishes sprinkled generously with love. We are introduced to lip-smacking dishes from different parts of India along with the regional names for addressing your grandmother. For example, Ajji from Hubli makes piping hot bisi bele baat and Ammamma from Kochi makes lacy appams and flavorful stew. But what happens when your Grandmother can’t cook?! This is what young Neil has to face. His Grandmother lovingly tries to cook but ends up charring the dosas and makes funny-shaped chapathis! What happens when Neil’s Paati is in charge of cooking for his birthday? Will it be a celebration of his dreams or a nightmare? What follows is a rib-tickling yet heart-warming tale that reminds us that cooking is just one amongst the many ways of showing our love for others.

4. Would you like to eat Gol Gol Gappas
Written by: Radhika Suri
Illustrated by: Upasana Chadha
Published by: Tota books
Age recommendation: 1.5-4 years

This amusing book introduces children to the lip-smacking world of chaat. Written in simple language with engaging illustrations, this book is perfect to be read by young readers too!
With step by step instructions on how to eat this crunchy savoury chat, this book is sure to get you and your little one rushing to eat a plate of gol gappa!!
We loved the gol gappa faces and the colouring activity at the end of the book!

5. Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth
Written by: Sanjay Patel & Emily Haynes
Illustrated by: Sanjay Patel
Published by: Tota books
Age recommendation: 4-8 years

This graphic and hilarious picture book is a story based on how Ganesha lost his tusk.
Did you know that Ganesha has a massive sweet tooth (or tusk?) and loves jaw-breaker laddoos?
The story is an imaginative re-telling of the popular story of how Ganesha broke his tusk to write Vyasa’s Mahabharata. Young Ganesha is also taught a very important lesson by Vyasa on how to overcome hurdles.
The highlight of the book has to be the bold artwork with emphasis on pointillism and sparse colours. This story is sure to have your child giggling over Ekadanta’s escapades.

6. Tomatoes for Neela
Written by: Padma Lakshmi
Illustrated by : Juana Martinez Neal.
Published by: Viking Publishers
Age recommendation: 3-7 years
The story is about a young girl, Neela who loves cooking with her Amma, under the loving gaze of her Paati’s portrait. Neela and her Amma go to a farmer’s market to buy vegetables and also learn about the various types of tomatoes. Using Paati’s recipes, they make a delicious sauce and chutney using the tomatoes. They also bottle them to be stored into winter! Neela keeps a jar of the tomato sauce for her Paati and realises that she and her Amma will always be connected to her Paati through cooking. This is a heartening tale of how cooking ties families together. A dash of love, a splash of laughter and a sprinkle of banter. A few scoops of compassion and a pinch of care. This tomato tale is a keeper!

7. Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao
Written by: Kat Zhang
Illustrated by: Charlene Chua
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Age recommendation:3-8 years

Amy Wu is a pocket-sized rocket: a girl who can do almost everything, except make the perfect bao! Bao is a delicious steamed Chinese dumpling filled with either sweet or savoury filling.
Amy’s parents and grandma are all bao grandmasters and poor Amy’s baos are not-so-perfect! She stumbles upon a way to make the perfect bao and realises that even the imperfect ones (either too small in size or with too much filling) are just as tasty! With the most beautiful illustrations and an heirloom bao recipe at the end of the book, this story is one of our favourites which will have you and your little one rushing to the kitchen make a bao! A story of love, perseverance and deliciousness gently steamed in one delicious book!

8. Paati’s Rasam
Written by: Janaki Sabesh and Dhwani Sabesh
Illustrated by: Pallavi Jain
Storyboard by: Vaijayanthi
Published by: Karadi Tales
Age recommendation: 5 years and above

This award-winning book encapsulates food, loss and nostalgia. The authors introduce the concept of bereavement to young children and gently remind us that we can keep the memories of our loved ones alive through food.
Young Malli and her Paati (Grandmother) love spending time together and Paati’s delicious rasam is the perfect ‘soup’ for the soul.
Paati’s passing leaves a sudden vacuum in Malli’s life and the young girl learns to grapple with the loss and never being able to taste her Paati’s favourite rasam ever again. Malli and her mother try to recreate Paati’s rasam in a desperate attempt to hold onto the matriach’s memories.
This book will envelope you with its warmth through its poignant storyline, stunning textured illustrations and a delicious recipe for the tangy rasam.

9. A Silly Story of Bondapalli
Written by: Shamim Padamsee
Illustrated by: Ashok Rajagopalan
Published by: Tulika publishers
Age recommendation: 4-8 years

This humorous tale is about a picky-eating prince who falls in love with eating bondas.
These crunchy bondas are fried golden balls which are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside!
Soon the entire kingdom falls in love with this snack and gradually they all balloon in size like their beloved bondas. The obsession with bondas is so much that the kingdom comes to be known as Bondapalli!!
The bondaful people of Bondapalli even use bondas in an unimaginable way! To find out, you must read the book! This comic tale is perfectly complimented by the cheery illustrations and is a bonda-rful book to read and laugh over!

10. Breakfasts of India
By Kutuki publishers
Age recommendation: 3-5 years

This picture book successfully showcases the culinary diversity of India. From Maharashtra’s Misal Pav to Assamese Chira-Doi-Gur. From Himachali Siddu to Kerala’s Puttu Kadala. Each page is dedicated to a food from a region and the vibrant pictures truly capture the essence of the mouthwatering eats. This book is sure to pique your child’s interest in the diverse Indian cuisine and will make you want to try various dishes!

11. Dragons Love Tacos
Written by: Adam Rubina
Illustrated by: Daniel Salmieri
Published by: Penguin Random House
Age recommendation: 3-6 years

This NYT best-seller is a whimsical story about taco-loving dragons and is sure to fire your child’s imagination and evoke several laughs.
The story revolves around a boy who decides to host a taco party for dragons. He reminds us that dragons surprisingly can’t stand the fiery heat of chillies! Despite his meticulous planning, some jalapenos end up in the salsa.
Will the spicy condiment cause the dragons to breathe fire?
The hugely popular book underlines the importance of understanding differences and paying attention to detail!
With amazing pictures that will fuel the imagination, this book is bound to be a favourite read-aloud and might have you salivating over the tacos yourself!

12. The Good Egg
Written by: John Jory
Illustrated by: Pete Oswald
Published by: Harper Collins
Age recommendation: 3-7 years

This egg-cellent book (pardon the pun!) comes from the hugely popular The Food Group series by the NYT best-selling author-illustrator duo.
The story is about an egg which is ALWAYS good and tries to correct the bad behavior of the bad eggs in his carton. The egg is helpful, kind and is constantly aiming for perfection.
Soon his shell cracks under pressure and he starts to feel a bit scrambled! This book is a fantastic way to teach self care and mindfulness to your young ones. The adorable illustrations bring the story alive as we learn that it’s important to be kind to yourself as well as others!
The comical storyline deals with a serious concept: It’s ok not to be ok! A hugely relevant concept especially in today’s rat race.

Some other books we really adore on this theme which are super duper hits with all our kbc members, but which our newbies may not be familiar with:

13. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Written and illustrated by: Eric Carle
Publisher: Puffin Books
Age: 0-3 years

This cult classic needs no introduction and will be found on every child’s bookshelf. The book traces the journey of a tiny hungry caterpillar as it munches through fruits and other delicious snacks. A great way to teach colours, numbers, days of the week and various food items, this book with its vivid and vibrant illustrations will be a firm favourite!

14. The Tiger Who Came to Tea
Written and illustrated by Judith Kerr
Published by: Harper Collins
Age recommendation: 2-5 years

This classic book is a quirky story about an unexpected striped guest that comes to Sophie’s home to have tea.
Perhaps it’s the guessing game of who rings the bell or what to feed this ravenous tiger for tea, that this book will keep your little one engaged!
Set in the 1960’s, this book has a mix of fantasy, humour and touch of patriarchy (only if the adult reader observes closely).

15. Lulu’s Lunch
Written by: Camilla Reid
Illustrated by: Ailie Busby
Published by: Bloomsbury Press
Age recommendation: 2-5 years

This interactive book was one of the recommendations we received from Asha and Team KBC when our toddler was in a picky eating phase.
Lulu’s Lunch is part of a best-selling larger book series and is a fantastic interactive book.
Right from fastening the velcro tab of a bib to sticky tactile patches and peeling a banana, this book will engage young kids and evoke their interest in eating.
With lucid text and eye-catching illustrations alongwith the interactive elements, this book has helped us immensely and continues to be a popular read in our home.

16. Pickle Mania
Written by: Srividya Venkat
Illustrated by: Shailaja Jain Chougule
Published by: Tota books
Age: 2-5 years

This tantalising tale is about young Nitya who is tempted to taste the various pickles at home. They are all too spicy for her and she is left with watering eyes and a runny nose. She convinces her Paati (grandmother) to help her make ‘just the right’ pickles more suitable for kids. Not too spicy. Or sour or sweet!
This sweet story will have you in splits and fall in love with India’s most beloved spicy condiment.

Licky-lick! Dippy-dip!

17. Thatha’s Pumpkin
Written by: Lalita Iyer
Illustrated by: Proiti Roy
Published by: Karadi Tales
Age recommendation: 3-6 years

This story is about young Tia’s Thatha who grows a gigantic (bigger than her head!) pumpkin in his backyard. Tia’s Thatha plans to make pumpkin halwa for her birthday. Since the pumpkin is so huge, they portion off slices to share with all the neighbours.
What follows is a heartwarming tale that will teach your kids about sharing and the importance of community! Not to mention, it will make your mouth water with the spread of dishes featuring pumpkin.

18. Kozhukatta
Written by: Sumi Chandrasekharan
Illustrated by: Zafouko Yamamoto
Published by: Tota books
Age recommendation: 3-6 years

‘Kozhukatta’ is a rib-tickling tale of forgetful foodie Ponnu. He loves to eat “crunchy, munchy, curly and swirly snacks” but keeps forgetting things-including peeling a banana before eating one! He visits his friend and discovers a delightful new snack: kozhukatta. What follows is a hilarious misadventure of how Ponnu tries to remember the name of the snack, forgets it and then re-discovers the tasty hot pillowy rice dumplings!

If you enjoyed Siddhanth’s fictional feast you might want to check out his favourites from last year’s bingo here.

[Note from Team Kids Book Café: For your convenience, affiliate links (MARKED IN PINK) to some of the book titles & images have been added to enable you to buy the books from AMAZON, should you wish to! A very small amount of money comes to kidsbookcafe.com when you purchase a book via the amazon affiliate link provided (at absolutely no extra cost to you!). Do let us know if you need information about other children’s books by writing to asha@kidsbookcafe.com.]

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