________________ CM . . . . Volume I Number 16 . . . . September 29, 1995

image Cook and Color

Shelley Zarenda. Illustrated by the author & Cheryl Kaplan.
Regina: Centax Books from Print West Communications.
ISBN: 1-895292-52-2

Subject Headings:
Cookery-Juvenile literature.
Coloring books.

Grade 2 - 5 / Ages 7 - 10 (with adult supervision).
Review by Anne Edwardsson


". . . the following year I decided to accept a specialist position . . . head of cooking classes. I ran this activity many times a day and it became very popular. I enjoyed seeing kids between the ages of 7 and 12 having fun and learning at the same time. We put together our own recipes, learned to substitute for missing or allergic ingredients, and I was able to learn which recipes appealed most to kids of this age group."

image Author Shelley Zarenda had a novel idea for her first book: to combine "simple recipes, as wall as appealing pictures for kids to color . . . while waiting for the food to bake, cook, or cool." Therein lies the problem with this cookbook.

The recipes, although short and simple, call for boiling water or syrup, electric mixers (or the ability to cream ingredients with a spoon), rolling pins, kneading, separating eggs, double boilers, and deep fat frying. Recipes are coded to suggest the level of difficulty: One ice-cream cone = easy, two = medium, and three = hard. The people portrayed in the cartoon style illustrations all appear to be teens, who could handle the required tasks and equipment.


If that is the intended audience however, that age group would most likely be turned off with the colouring concept. The artwork itself is not particularly appealing.

Those young enough to want to "color while they wait," will need adult supervision for many of the tasks. They probably won't relate to the teens pictured or be interested in decorating the flags in the International section.

There is a glossary at the beginning of the book and a page entitled Rules For the Cook, which has safety tips. These will only benefit those who pause to read them -- or who can read and comprehend them. Recipes that include boiling liquids have a note at the bottom: "*Boiling syrup can be very dangerous. DO NOT attempt this recipe unless an adult is there to supervise." It would be better to suggest that an adult help with this step. Also, there could be some first aid advice -- for example, if boiling liquid comes in contact with skin, immediately plunge the affected part into ice water. Similarly, in the Rules section it mentions "be extra careful" when "handling knives or other sharp objects," but it doesn't tell you what that involves.

The primary focus of this book is baking. No doubt the cookies, squares, and desserts will delight kids who enjoy sweets. Also included are some international favourites and a play-dough recipe. However, there are only a handful of savory ideas for breakfast and lunch items like pizza bagels, flapjacks, and so on.

The book doesn't provide nutritional breakdowns (grams of fat, etc.), or suggest using whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose, or substituting egg whites for yolks. There is a table of contents and an index, the text is easy to read, and ingredients are listed in bold print.

Since this cookbook is doubling as a colouring book, it would be a risky purchase for schools or other group purposes. For keen cooks or fans of doodle art, it might work as a stocking stuffer or birthday gift.

Not recommended.

A. Edwardsson is in charge of the Children's Department at a branch of the Winnipeg Public Library. She has a Bachelor of Education degree and a Child Care Worker III certification, and is a member of the Manitoba branch of the Canadian Authors Association.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364