I'm not sure whether to call Cook-A-Doodle-Doo! a one-recipe children's cookbook or call it a very funny children's picture book. The book works well both ways. The cookbook recipe is for Great-Granny's Magnificent Strawberry Shortcake. The picture book story is about the Little Red Hen's great-grandson who wants to learn to cook.
Cook-A-Doodle-Doo! - The Children's Picture Book
Big Brown Rooster is sick of chicken feed. He pulls out an old family cookbook, The Joy of Cooking Alone
, by L.R. Hen, his great-grandmother. Rooster decides, "Yes sirree, just like Great-Granny, I'll be a cook!" At first, Rooster has the same experience his great-grandmother had. The other animals don't want to help. However, after the dog, cat, and goose turn him down, Turtle, Iguana, and Pig agree to help. Then, the fun begins. The story by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel and the riotous mixed media illustrations, with watercolor and pencil, are delightful.
Turtle reads the recipe, Iguana helps gather ingredients, and Pig offers his services as taster, saying, "I'm an expert at tasting." The animals don chef hats, in this case, a pot for Turtle, a cooking mitt for Iguana, a dish cloth for Pig, and an apron for Rooster. The animals attempt to understand and follow the recipe, with very funny results, until they are finally successful. The story ends with smiling animals surrounded by heaping plates full of Great-Granny's Magnificent Strawberry Shortcake.
Cook-A-Doodle-Doo! - The Children's Cookbook
In addition to the story, Stevens and Crummel provide information about baking in general and specific information about, and the recipe for, Great-Granny's Magnificent Strawberry Shortcake. In side panels on many of the pages, the authors provide definitions and specific tips about using cookbooks, an oven, dry and liquid ingredients, and cooking utensils. While I haven't tried baking the shortcake, I have looked over the recipe, and it provides a detailed ingredients list and step-by-step instructions. If you and your children make Great-Grannys Magnificent Strawberry Shortcake, let me know how it turns out.
I recommend Cook-A-Doodle-Doo! for four- to eight-year-olds. But be prepared! After seeing the happy animals with their shortcake, I think your children will be eager to bake their own as soon as possible. (Voyager Books, Harcourt, Inc., 2005. ISBN: 9780152019242)