peeking into carl warner’s a world of food

“Picture yourself in a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies . . . “

When I first heard these lyrics, little did I realize one day I’d actually be able to see and practically taste an alternate universe where everything is made of food. Thanks to London-based photographer Carl Warner, I can hula ‘neath pasta palm trees, tiptoe across cucumber bridges, climb cocoa-dusted mountains, skinny dip in a lemonade pool, and practice my backstroke in a sea of mushroom soup. Naturally I’d live in a nougat house and lick my lollipop trees every hour on the hour. Does this man know me or what?

Yellow: Couscous, rice & grains desert, Emmental cheese pyramids, pasta palm trees, tortilla chip plants, tagliatelle & crispy pancake, mushroom and bean gondola.

Open Mr. Warner’s new children’s book, A World of Food (Abrams, 2012), and just see if you don’t want to climb into every page and eat your way to oblivion. Featuring twelve wondrous, magical, incredibly edible color-themed foodscapes, this tasty tome will tempt and delight kids ages 1 to 100.

Travel to the white land of ice cream, live in a purple-y garlic bulb world, and if you’re feeling especially carnivorous, go straight to red with its meat mountains. Haven’t you always wanted to tickle rocky ribs of pork and beef? Hot stuff!

Red: Chilies, capsicums & Scotch bonnets scorpion, paprika, chili powder & bacon bits desert, rib eye steak, ox tail, beef & pork ribs mountain rocks, rib eye steak sky.

Oh, and there’s also a cool chocolate train made of wafers and bars, choo-chooing along KitKat tracks circling a melted-toffee lake past chocolate-covered raisin rocks. Mr. Warner, take me away!

We’re guided through each tasty tableau with three stanzas of sweet and savory rhyming verse — slippery, shimmery, crispy words that feel oh so good on the tongue. Readers will love poring over every detail as they try to identify the interesting variety of foods, marveling at their beautiful colors, textures and uncanny resemblance to their real-world counterparts.

Purple: Elephant garlic & purple Moldovan bulb houses, garlic bread rocks and mountains, garlic clove moon.

They can’t help but imagine themselves in every scene, making up stories as they go. Warner hopes these fun and whimsical forays will also encourage healthy eating habits, and he’s now working on an animated series set in his fantastical gastronomical paradise to teach kids about where their food comes from and how establishing a good food culture ultimately impacts society and the environment.

World of many colors: bread clouds, cheese mountains, parsley trees & bushes, potato rocks, basil, thyme, parsley, purple sprouting broccoli plants, cart made of crackers, mushroom, red grapes, raspberries & blueberries.

Here are two more spreads with their text, as well as two videos. A World of Food is the perfect holiday gift — a special treat for the munchkins and a nice coffee table book for the grown-ups. By all means, play with your food, but try not to eat the book.

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Silver (Warner’s favorite foodscape): zucchini lighthouse, sea bass, herring, mackerel, sprats & whitebait sea; red pepper fishing huts, cod & pollock islands, rocks made of lobster, crab, oyster, mussel, cockle, whelk, and scallop shells


If all the world were silver,
It would be made of fish,
Whose scaly skins of steely sheen
Would shimmer, shine, and swish.

Their heads and tails and ships with sails
Would fill up all the seas,
And waves of mackerel, cod and bass
Would ripple on the breeze.

The early morning fishermen
On wakes of salmon ride
And balance on the salty scales
That rise upon the tide.

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Green: Broccoli and curly kale trees, cucumber tree trunks, bread rocks, mayonnaise waterfall and river.


If all the world were green,
We’d live in forests, fields, and woods,
Where curly kale and broccoli trees
Would be our streets and neighborhoods.

Like herbivores on forest floors,
We’d walk through fresh green herbs
And share our thyme with passersby
In leafy, lush suburbs.

We’d cross a bridge of cucumber
And climb upon a hill,
Then lay our heads in flowerbeds
Of parsley, sage, and dill.

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by Carl Warner
published by Abrams BFYR, May 2012
Picture Book for ages 3+, 32 pp.
*Includes Ingredients List for each spread

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You might also like Mr. Warner’s other book, Food Landscapes (Abrams, 2010), which features 25 international tableaux constructed from appropriate regional materials.



*Spreads from A World of Food posted by permission of the publisher, copyright © 2012 Carl Warner, published by Abrams BFYR. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

25 thoughts on “peeking into carl warner’s a world of food

    1. LOL! A girl after my own heart! I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the verse. I’d seen many of Warner’s foodscapes around the web and was of course blown away. When I heard he was doing a children’s book, I knew I’d love the pictures, but was a little apprehensive about what the text would be like. Great fun to read aloud!


    1. He definitely has a gift! It’s wonderful to hear how he “stumbled” upon the idea by seeing portobello mushrooms and envisioning trees one day. All of his past experiences as a landscape and still life photographer combined with his interest in food just clicked and he created this unique art form. No one does it better.


  1. Delightful, Jama. Posted a link on Twitter. This man and his books are amazing. I never knew about this. Added to my ever growing order. Thanks so much.


  2. I think I first heard about Carl Warner through Zoe (Playing by the Book). All the images are outstanding – and kind of reminded me of Spaghetti with a Chance of Meatballs (and Pickles to Pittsburgh, its sequel). I hope I can find a copy of this book in our library. I wonder what Carl Warner’s dreams are like.


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