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The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook

With Illustrations by Ernest H. Shepard

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Cover art by Ernest H. Shepard for The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook

An Overview

Author Virginia Ellison's love for her subject shines throughout The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook. Combine that with a beautifully designed cookbook, tasty recipes at an appropriate level of difficulty for children, and the artwork of the legendary Pooh illustrator Ernest H. Shepard, and you have a most appealing children's cookbook.

The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook was originally published about 40 years ago as The Pooh Cook Book. The new title is not the only change; the cookbook has also been redesigned and revised. The subtitle remains Inspired by Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne.

The Book's Design and Illustrations

The book jacket features a color illustration by Ernest H. Shepard of Winnie-the-Pooh, dressed as a chef, standing by the stove flipping a pancake while Eyore, Piglet and other friends watch. The color scheme of bright blue, coupled with vertical yellow and white stripes, on the cover and chapter title pages, with white as a background color for the recipes and bright blue for the quotations gives the book a cohesive and elegant look. The actual cover of The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook is a warm blue with a number of bright blue spot illustrations by Shepard.

Shepard's pen and ink spot color illustrations are sprinkled throughout the book. Every recipe not only has an illustration from Winnie-the-Pooh or The House at Pooh Corner, it also has a food-related quotation from one of the books. The title page of each chapter features yellow and white vertical stripes bordering a large light blue panel on which is the title of the chapter and a pen and ink illustration by Ernest H. Shepard.

The Recipes

In the book's Introduction, Virginia Ellison suggests to young readers, "If you have never read those books, why not start at the beginning of Winnie-the-Pooh and read the ten chapters in it, one at each meal, and then the ten in The House at Pooh Corner." After doing that, she tells young readers, they can play a guessing game as to which chapter and book each quotation in The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook comes from.

The recipes are divided into eight categories, with a chapter for each:

  • Breakfasts
  • Smackerels, Elevenses & Teas
  • Provisions for Picnics & Expotitions
  • Lunches & Suppers
  • Desserts & Party Recipes
  • Winter Delights
  • Honey Sauces
As you might expect, quite a few of the recipes contain honey. The recipes tend to be simple, with a limited number of ingredients, and easy to follow step-by-step directions. Despite their simplicity, these are imaginative and tasty recipes, which will appeal to children and adults.

The Author and Illustrator

Virginia Ellison wrote several other books inspired by A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh books. They include The Pooh Get-Well Book and The Pooh Party Book. The Pooh Cookbook, like the other Ellison books, is out-of-print, so it's nice to have The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook available.

Ernest H. Shepard's illustrations for A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh books have endeared him to innumerable children for several generations. Shepard created the cover and 8 original pen and ink sketches just for the cookbook, which also features spot illustrations from Winnie-the-Pooh and The House by Pooh Corner.

My Recommendation

The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook is designed for children to use with adult supervision, and I'd recommend it for children 7 and older. However, with close supervision 5 and 6 year olds could easily complete quite a few of the recipes. While I think it will be especially appealing to children who are already familiar with the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, the design, illustrations and recipes are so appealing that I think the cookbook will also interest children who are not familiar with A.A. Milne's stories but who want to learn to make tasty treats and other food. By the time they've gone through the cookbook, they will probably also be eager to Have you read Winnie the Pooh stories to them or read them on their own. (Dutton Children’s Books, Penguin. ISBN: 9780525423591)

More Resources For Young Cooks

There are quite a few children's cookbooks based on children's books and one of my other favorites is the Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook, inspired by Green Eggs and Ham and other books by Dr Seuss. For holiday baking and crafts, I recommend Kids in the Holiday Kitchen. For healthy eating with foods from your garden, I recommend Simply in Season Children's Cookbook.

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