Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Kids in the holiday kitchen

Kids in the holiday kitchen

Jessica Strand, Tammy Massman-Johnson
Photographer: James Baigrie
Novelty Craft Kit
For ages 6 to 12
Chronicle Books, 2008   ISBN: 978-0811861397

If we are not careful the holidays can be a very stressful time. There are presents to buy and wrap, decorations to put up, cards to send, parties to prepare for. Family members are often so busy making their preparations that they don't take the time to connect. With this book in hand families can overcome at least some of these problems.

First of all, the activities inside the book are designed so that parents and children can cook and create together; it encourages family time. Secondly, rather than buy gifts, families can make them using the recipes and craft ideas in the book. There are even recipes for winter family dinners, and tasty treat recipes that would be perfect for parties and get-togethers.

The book is divided into four sections. These are "Mealtime Magic," "Naughty and Nice Nibbles," "Sweet Somethings," and "Happy Holiday Workshop." In addition there is an introduction, a "Tips and Tools" section, and safety guidelines.

In "Mealtime Magic" children and their families will find recipes for wonderful cold weather comfort food including macaroni and cheese, Latkes, and stuffed French toast. The recipes have easy-to-follow directions and the photographs are almost good enough to eat.

The sections "Naughty and Nice Nibbles" and "Sweet Somethings" are full of recipes for sinfully good looking treats that would be perfect for holiday entertaining, and some would also make great gifts.

Finally there is the crafts section where readers will learn how to make soap, candles, picture frames, and much more. Again, the directions are easy to follow and the pictures show children what the end result will look like.

This well presented and inviting book offers children and the families with a terrific reason to spend quality time together.