Unlike Berman’s Friday Night Bites: Kick off the Weekend with Recipes and Crafts for the Whole Family (2009; not reviewed), this effort is geared toward independent child chefs.
The 13 snack and treat recipes get most of their appeal from presentation—among others, a taco-salad pirate face, a breakfast buffet shaped like a train with individual cars and a berry-and-yogurt–snowcapped mountain. To assemble these creations, young chefs are directed to use a pair of (washed) safety scissors instead of knives. But inexperienced cooks may end up with way too much food, as the servings vary widely, are easy to overlook and, in many cases, are too large for one child making a solo snack. For example, the “Cold Creepy Crawly Noodles” serves four to six, while the “Tic-Tac-Toe Open-Faced Sandwich” makes only one (but takes two to play?). “Do It Another Way” sections accompanying each recipe give readers ideas for substituting ingredients or trying new ones. For the most part, the directions are easy to follow, although one recipe may well cause problems, as readers are directed to measure out six cups of popcorn from what appears to be a bag of popped corn, but a later step pictures a measuring cup filled with kernels. Other than this glaring exception, Marts’ digital artwork both supports the text and adds elements of humor, playing up the different themes of the recipes.
Young cooks will likely be more successful serving as sous-chefs under their parents’ tutelage than using this to strike out on their own. (Cookbook. 5-10)