One of the things that I did with my son to get him reading early, was bake and cook together.
Recipes are fantastic for literacy because they offer a direct reward for reading. Once you’ve deciphered the text, you get to cook–and then eat what you’ve made.
In Baby Cakes, author Theo Heras is introducing the concept of kids and cooking very early.
The two young children–and their kitty–get out all the utensils and ingredients they need to make cupcakes. Then, they follow the recipe, cream the butter, add the eggs (after dropping one or two) and mix everything together. Mom put the cupcakes in the oven, but that’s the only appearance an adult makes in this child-focussed book (although there is a warning at the front about not allowing children to use appliances and ovens.) He manages to tell the story with very few, easy words.
Illustrator Renne Benoit strikes the right note with the charming watercolour illustrations, which are as sweet as cupcakes themselves.
The book itself is gorgeous. The sturdy cover is padded and soft to the touch. The pages are thick, with rounded corners, and easy for little hands to turn.
Four pages at the front and the back contain recipes for chocolate and vanilla cupcakes and buttercream.
Best of all, with Baby Cakes young children can start to explore the idea of baking and using a recipe.
Read more about Baby Cakes on the Pajama Press website. Baby Cakes is a sequel to Hat On, Hat Off, and features the same sibling duo. Picture book, ages 1-3, $15.95.