1 ZUCCHINI, 2 ZUCCHINI, 3 ZUCCHINI, 4! FUN VEGGIE BOOKS FOR KIDS
Somebody has written a children’s book about it. In fact, four somebody’s! Here’s a quartet of fabulous zucchini books to introduce this giggle-inducing veggie to your kids.
Make the introduction. Read a book, and the kids will be clamoring for a zucchini all their own!
The Accidental Zucchini by Max Grover (1997)
The shop pictured on the front cover of this wonderfully wacky alphabet book is festooned with zucchini garlands. Giant zucchini lie cheek to jowl with baguettes in the bread bin. The gumball machine dispenses baby zucchini, and the shop girl sports a zucchini hat and earrings.
The zany world of The Accidental Zucchini: An Unexpected Alphabet is not entirely vegetables, but Grover sneaks them in on the cover and the “V” spread, a “vegetable volcano” spewing corn, carrots, beets and celery on an unsuspecting city. Delightful fun! Ages 4-7.
RELATED ACTIVITY: Pick a letter of the alphabet at random. Have kids choose a veggie or fruit that starts with that letter, join it with a random word that starts with the same letter, and draw a picture for it. Older kids, over a period of time, could create their own crazy alphabet book. Fun!
Zora’s Zucchini by Katherine Pryor, illustrated by Anna Raff (2015)
If you’ve ever grown a zucchini plant that just won’t quit, Zora’s challenge will feel all too familiar.
This award winning book captures the wonder of a child’s first garden, the bounty of summer and the promise of fresh vegetables. Fun and accessible, it practically begs to start conversations with kids about gardening, nutrition, problem solving, sharing, community and conservation. A joyful book filled with zest for life! Ages 5-8.
RELATED ACTIVITY: Take your kids to the garden store to pick out a zucchini start and help them plant it. But only if you have LOTS of room and want to get to know your neighbors!
The Giant Zucchini by Catherine Siracusa (1993)
Robert Squirrel and Edgar Mouse are convinced that their giant zucchini (which grew from a “teeny zucchini” because they sing to it, by the way) is sure to win a blue ribbon at the county fair. Then Humphrey Hog shows up. And Humphrey, it seems, will go to any lengths to make sure his zucchini wins the prize.
The pictures of various animals carting gargantuan cabbages, carrots and other veggies to the county fair are laugh-out-loud funny, but ultimately, The Giant Zucchini is a story about dreaming big dreams and learning to be both a good winner and a gracious loser. Ages 5-8.
RELATED ACTIVITY: Take your kids to the county fair–and look for giant zucchinis!
Never Insult a Killer Zucchini! by Elana Azose and Brandon Amancio, illustrated by David Clark (2015)
When Mr. Farnsworth, the science-fair judge, declares that he loves zucchinis, the Killer Zucchini is smitten. Until he realizes what Mr. Farnsworth really loves is eating zucchinis! Believe me, the KZ is not about to let that happen.
The zucchini is only one of the unusual science projects in this madcap science fair, and engaging back matter provides the real science behind each one. Really, it’s a science book disguised as an alphabet book. And it works either way! Ages 5-8.
RELATED ACTIVITY: Read through the back matter with your kids and have them pick one of the science projects–a real, doable one–to try at home. (Depending on how much work you’re willing to put in, you might want to steer them to one of your choosing.)
Who knew that zucchini could be so much fun?!
Barbara Jean the Story Queen
First, a disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a chef. I’m not even a mom. What I know about healthy food and healthy eating I’ve learned by reading and doing, just like you.
What I am is a children’s book author. A Story Queen! My area of expertise is FUN. In the last dozen years, I’ve written a number of entertaining, award-winning picture books–about monsters, cats, Disney princesses–and veggies, of all things.
I’m big on imagination. Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli encourages kids (the way my dad encouraged my siblings and me) to think of broccoli as crunchy, munchy, fun-to-eat trees. Once Upon a Parsnip is a fairytale rematch between Little Red Riding Hood (a vegetarian) and the Big Bad Wolf (NOT a vegetarian). Scary fun!
On the surface, neither of my veggie books is really about healthy eating–they’re just plain fun. But the fun is subversive: both books introduce and normalize the idea of eating healthy, fresh-from-the-garden vegetables. (Never underestimate the power of fun to get your kids to try something new!)
My goal in these pages is to find and share fun ways to introduce fresh fruits and vegetables to children and to normalize healthy foods and healthy eating in their experience. My means is to expose them–through you, their parents and caregivers–to food-friendly books, videos, downloadable and printable posters and coloring pages, hands-on activities and kid-friendly recipes. Anything that equates healthy food and FUN!
I’m here for you–to help you make healthy eating feel as natural to your children as breathing.
Because healthy food and healthy fun make healthy kids. And that’s something all of us can get behind.
Barbara Jean Hicks, a.k.a. “The Story Queen”
To purchase signed, personalized copies of my picture books, visit the “Books” page on my website. To contact me about my well regarded young author presentations for schools, or for other enquiries, send an email from the “Contact” page at barbarajeanhicks.com. I look forward to hearing from you!