Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Disney Princess Cookbook by Cynthia Littlefield

Title: The Disney Princess Cookbook
Author: Cynthia Littlefield
Genre: Cookbook
Reading Level: Ages 6-12
Multicultural: The recipes included represent several different cultures based on the different princesses they are paired with including Chinese for Mulan, French for Belle, Middle Eastern for Jasmine, and Scottish for Merida.
Curriculum Subject: Social Studies, Math, Science

The Disney Princess Cookbook is a fun book for kids to get involved in making their own meals in the kitchen, especially for fans of the various Disney Princess movies. The recipes are rated using crowns with 1 crown being the easiest to 5 crown recipes being the most complex. The sections in this cookbook include breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides, snacks, beverages, and sweets.

The basics chapter at beginning provides useful cooking and safety tips for kids, especially beginner cooks. The measuring ingredients section is particularly helpful with directions on how to measure different types of ingredients including leveling off dry ingredients. The best section, though, is the cleaning up one, which provides tips that are good habits to start forming early.

Each recipe highlights a tip below the ingredients in the side margin. Sometimes the tips are cooking tips related to what is being made, such as how to check doneness on Pascal’s Pancakes. Most of the tips are about ways to experiment with the recipes, such as using alternative ingredients or using with other recipes in the book.

The Magical Menus section in the back provides inspiration for combining several recipes in the book for a special princess themed meal. It also encourages cooks to try out making their own menus. Younger kids may require more help with the reading, but the colorful images of the finished recipes make it easy for them to pick out recipes that they would like to try out.

The glossary in the back provides definitions for a variety of words used in the cookbook. This includes explaining words used in recipe instructions that may be unfamiliar, especially to new cooks, such as fold, knead, and mince. It also describes ingredients or dish names, which can be great for helping young cooks experience new foods.

With its recipes from different ethnicities and with different difficulty levels, this is a good cookbook for kids to experiment in the kitchen and experience other cultures. Since the cooking includes measuring it can also be a fun way to work on math skills, especially if you half, double, or triple recipes. Additionally, cooking can be related to science curriculum by experimenting and hypothesizing how doing something different might change the recipe, etc.

Types of Readers Book Might Appeal To & Multiple Intelligence Categories
  • Fans of Disney Princesses including Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Aurora from Sleeping Beauty, Belle from Beauty in the Beast, Cinderella, Jasmine from Aladdin, Merida from Brave, Mulan, Rapunzel from Tangled, Snow White, and Tiana from The Princess and the Frog.
  • Those that like to do things with their hands, especially if they are interested in getting involved in the kitchen. (Bodily-Kinesthetic)
  • The colorful pictures of the characters along with the photos of the finished recipes can make it easier for younger kids to pick recipes as well as those that like to see a visual representation of what it should look like. (Spatial-Visual)
Activities for Further Learning and Fun
  • Disney Princess Cookie Cutters - These would be good for the Tiana's Tasty Sandwiches (p. 44-45) recipe.
  • Disney Princess Crafts & Recipes - Find more recipes to make as well as crafts, which could be used to decorate the table when serving the recipes in the book.
  • Kids Cooking Lesson Plans - This site has different cooking themed lesson plans that could be combined with this book.  The lesson plans are divided into the following ages groups: under 3, 3-6, 7-11, 12-15, and 16-18.
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