Picture books for picky eaters

picture books for picky eaters

My reading so far this summer has been a little disappointing, but thanks to our local library’s summer reading program, my 4-year-old son has been really excited to visit the library and pick out new books.  Normally he gravitates towards books that I don’t always enjoy reading (another early reader about Superman, really?) but he found some great ones recently — and several that were on the theme of food and picky eaters.  I know that’s a common issue for kids this age, and these books have a really fun take on the topic.


Put it on the list! by Kristen Darbyshire.  A funny picture book about what happens when you run out of essentials like milk, cheese and syrup. #pancakeswithketchup


How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans by David LaRochelle. Would Martha still refuse to eat her green beans, even if it were the only way to save her parents from the Mean Green Bean kidnappers? I loved the silly concept and drawings in this book. #mustachioedgreenbeans


A Few Bites by Cybèle Young.  In this elaborately illustrated book, an older sister spins fanciful tales of dinosaur rampages fueled by broccoli and aliens fueling up with orange power sticks (carrots) to convince her little brother to eat his meal. #evensistersgetfrustratedwithpickyeaters

If you’re looking for more great book recommendations for the 3-6 yr old crowd, check out The Deliberate Reader’s Early Readers category.  I regularly check out library books for my son based her her recommendations, and she hasn’t steered us wrong yet.

Isn’t the summer reading program the best? What are you (or your kids) reading this summer?


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38 thoughts on “Picture books for picky eaters

    • Oh my gosh, I know what you mean about hiding in the aisles! Talk about freaking me out. I’ve convinced my son the hold shelves are the “book cave” so sometimes we can get in and out pretty quickly if I really play up the cave adventure part. And I hear we’re getting a library drive through soon — hooray!

  1. Oh! Love this list! Just this weekend, my picky eater refused to eat pizza that was served at an event because it wasn’t from our pizza place. It’s pizza for heaven’s sake!!! Also, excited to meet The Deliberate Reader. You know how much a love a good book recommendation!! My youngest and I just read a super fun book called A Lion in Paris. Really fun!
    Stacey recently posted…Visit Me at Literary MamaMy Profile

    • Argh, that is probably the picky eating behavior that drives me to the craziest — I loved this food last time, but now I hate it! I will definitely be on the lookout for A Lion in Paris. I just searched the library website and the closest thing it came up with was Mater (from Cars) in Paris. Yeah… not quite the same!

  2. You are making me nostalgic. My oldest daughter loved reading when she was little… well, she still does. She inhales books. I texted her when I saw that our library was beginning its summer reading program. She texted back that she missed the days when summer meant “reading for prizes”:)
    Seana Turner recently posted…A Fun Clutter QuizMy Profile

    • Those were the days, for sure! I actually discovered that our library is running a summer reading program for adults this year! Read 5 books and you can get entered into a drawing. Is she on GoodReads? That seems to be the place where all the cool-kid readers hang out.

    • I hope so! I remember when I was a kid, we got to put a penny in a huge jar at the library for every book we read. It was so cool to see it fill up as the summer went on. I don’t even remember what we got with the money, but I remember all that reading. I am so looking forward to when my kids are old enough for chapter books.

    • It’s a pretty funny book – I bet she would enjoy it! (Would she try dehydrated green beans? They’re crispy and kind of sweet. I’ve had them fried too… with powdered sugar on top… sounds bizarre but surprisingly good!)

      Thank goodness for kids who are good eaters, right? My son is really hot and cold on most foods, but I feel like such an accomplished parent on the days he scarfs down his veggies.

    • I try to stay Zen about the picky eating thing, I put good food in front of them, it’s their job to eat it. But it’s hard not to feel frustrated sometimes.

  3. Great books!! I have a “picky” eater. She likes to eat all the junk and none of the good stuff. I will have to check these out gem the library.

    • I hope you can find them! They really are fun books. The “put it on the list” book is probably geared towards younger readers the most, the other two would be fine for older kids like your daughters age.

  4. I love kid’s picture books. One thing that I refuse to get rid of is all of our children’s books!! I did part with the board books but even that was rough.
    Kim recently posted…Growing UpMy Profile

    • We are now reading so many picture books that my mom saved from when I was a kid! It is such a fun walk down memory lane for me, plus I have hardly had to buy any books for my kids and the shelves are overflowing! So — if you have the room, hold on to some of those books for your future grandkids!

  5. These are awesome suggestions 🙂 My son is the worst and he’s 7 – I am repeatedly told to wait because hes’ going to reach an age where he eats everything in the house being a boy; especially since he’s a huge kid for his age – I figured, as long as he’s healthy which he is leave him be. I’m enjoying his simple options before he eats the house later. Have a great one Sarah! -Iva

    • Oh my gosh, I know — I see these families at the grocery store with teenage boys and their carts are just piled so high… (mostly with junk food)! I am not looking forward to those days, although it will be nice to get past the “just try one bite” phase.

      • OH yes see that all the time – the devour food.. My son has a limit on all junk food and that won’t change when he’s an adolescent.. I was watching Modern Family last night and one of Phils’ rivals drops off a box of cereal for the son and says “there’s a surprise in every box – it’s Diabetes” – yeah not happening, lol. 🙂

  6. This is adorable, I only wish the nephews weren’t too old, I swear some weekends I really feel like yelling when I make a healthy dinner and they won’t touch it. But, I’m not there mom so I can’t really address it. If I ever have children I love the idea of those books and think they would be fabulous to use. Now, maybe you can sneak in some good reading for you. 😉
    Jenn Speer recently posted…Checking inMy Profile

    • I know, it’s so frustrating when you cook healthy food and the people you’re cooking for won’t eat it!! I think getting them involved in the cooking is about the best thing you can do. I hope I can find some reading time soon! I have some new books coming from the library soon.

  7. “Reading program” — so formal ;). I am following a list of themes from letteroftheweek(dot)com. The website also lists books for that theme so I reserve books from the library that way. Also, we borrow whatever catches his eye when we’re there ;). You’re right, sometimes they are stuff I like to read, and sometimes not. It’s kinda mean to judge a children’s book though ;). So by “early reader” you mean it’s something your son is practicing to read by himself?? Lucky for us, our son doesn’t attach to a certain character/genre but certainly reads the books we borrow ad nauseum when they’re home.
    lisacng @ expandng.com recently posted…Throwback: permsMy Profile

  8. My favorite way to spend summer involved weekend trips to the library. I stacked my books so high that I couldn’t make it to the car without dropping some. My daughter likes to read, but I am not certain if she’s developed an undying love for it. I hope with some encouragement she will love reading as much as I do.
    Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri recently posted…A Little Bit Of GoodMy Profile

    • I bet she will learn to love reading, especially seeing you set a example for her! I *still* have the problem of being so overloaded with books I can’t make it to the car some days! Thank goodness for the basket under the stroller. =)

    • You should! Ours has some pretty great prizes for the kids – lots of coupons to do free stuff if they meet their reading goals. (Although I guess you might not be around long enough to take advantage of that.) Hope your packing/moving/planning is going well! Things are “getting real” around my house – lots of boxes!

  9. We get pretty lucky with our library’s selections. Nearly everything is good! But yeah I’m so over the early readers sometimes. It’s so hard to read, even though I know they’re designed that way so that the kids have an easier time reading it. Thanks for these suggestions. I’ve put the “How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans” on my reading list 😉
    Nina recently posted…Ask the Readers: Is Taking Care of Kids Really the Hardest Job?My Profile

    • Hey Nina! I think you’ll really enjoy the green bean book. My son actually *does* eat green beans, so I was a bit scared the book would make him start thinking they are gross, but actually they’re just fairly sinister little creatures — that must be eaten! =) Happy reading.

  10. I have another fun one to add to your list: I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child, one of the Charlie & Lola books. It’s too cute and I never got tired of reading it to my middle child, who thought it was the most hysterical book she’d ever read – and yes, she loves tomatoes. 😛

    • I don’t think I’ve ever read a Charlie and Lola book! I just looked them up on our library’s website and they don’t have the tomato one but all the titles look hilarious. I am putting one on hold for us to read!

  11. Love this post! I just saw that green bean one at the library, but I’ll actually have to bring it home now. My 4yo is really interested in reading, so we found some rebus Scooby Doo “picture clue” books that he LOVES. We’re also all reading The Wizard of Oz together, which has been fun.
    Nicole recently posted…My Kid Could Paint ThatMy Profile

    • We just checked out “Dinosaur Kisses” a couple of days ago, and I thought J was going to wet his pants he was laughing so hard. (Dinosaur kisses are a little toothy and awkward.) =) I kinda forgot about picture clue books – I loved those when I was a kid!

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