[review + giveaway!] taking a peek at The Forest Feast for Kids by Erin Gleeson

If you want to get your kids to eat their veggies, ask them to feast their eyes on Erin Gleeson’s gorgeous photos of Carrot “Noodle” Salad, Kale and Black Bean Tacos, Bay Potatoes, and Pesto Pepper Pizza.

They’ll marvel at the stunningly showcased variety of colors, shapes and textures, then ask to see more. Grazing through the sweets, they’ll drool at the divine close-ups of Fried Banana Split, Plum Tartlets, and Melon “Cake.” You’ll likely hear cries of “I’m hungry!”, “I want some!” and maybe even,”What’s edamame?”

A quick glance at the illustrated recipes and they’ll be anxious to make some of the dishes themselves. And yes, before you know it, they’ll be happily eating their fruits and their veggies, eminently proud of their newfound skills. 🙂

It’s absolutely true that we first eat with our eyes, and Erin Gleeson has served up an exquisite visual banquet in her new cookbook, The Forest Feast for Kids (Abrams, 2016)which features vegetarian recipes inspired by fresh local produce and the beautiful natural setting of her cabin in the woods near San Francisco.

Erin with her son Ezra.

She’s made it easy for anyone to make the recipes, since there are crystal clear step-by-step instructions and color photos of every ingredient in addition to full page color photographs of all 40 finished dishes. Thanks to this highly approachable diagram layout, you know exactly what you’re working with and how the finished product is supposed to look — no guess work. Best of all, most of these recipes require less than 5 ingredients, simple enough to whip up in no time at all during the week, yet special enough to serve to company.

Just as in her first New York Times bestselling book, The Forest Feast (Abrams, 2014), you’ll find Erin’s lovely watercolors and hand lettering sprinkled throughout, making this a unique art book as well as cookbook. She’s included about 20 new recipes in The Forest Feast for Kids alongside a number of kid-friendly repeat recipes from the first book. The book opens with a nice intro and illustrated charts featuring kitchen tools, cutting techniques, measurements, and a glossary of culinary terms. Recipe categories include Snacks, Drinks, Salads, Meals, Sweets, and Parties. 🙂

Erin wants to encourage kids to “eat the rainbow,” and she invites them to do so with color-themed dishes such as Red Salad (radishes, red onion, dried cherries, cherry tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, red apple). So pretty and fun! It’s on the Color Party menu along with Blueberry Sparkler, Yellow Caprese Bites, Asparagus Pastry Straws and Sweet Potato Pizza.

Other fun party ideas include a Grilled Cheese Party, a Fruity Ice Cream Sandwich Bar, and a Picnic Party. There are lots of photos showing kids preparing and eating the different foods. Of course just by paging through the book one gets loads of ideas about food presentation and table decoration, and the cool scenic backdrop makes you want to join everyone on the deck to breathe that fresh air — I’ll have my grilled cheese with potato bread, two slices of cheddar and tomato, please. Oh, you’d rather go on a picnic? Make it a Strawberry Wrap and some Peanut Butter Coconut Balls!

What a nice way to get kids excited about and involved in hands-on prep of healthy natural foods! Treat yourselves to a complete vegetarian meal or serve any of the salads as a great side to your favorite meat dish. Good food doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s all about fresh ingredients, a little imagination, and a hearty appetite. Now, would you like to try one of these Greek Parfaits? 🙂



THE FOREST FEAST FOR KIDS: Colorful Vegetarian Recipes That Are Simple to Make
written, illustrated and photographed by Erin Gleeson
published by Abrams BYR, February 2016

Art Cookbook for ages 8-12, 112 pp.

♥ Check out this wonderful review at Librarian’s Quest

♥ More recipes and info at The Forest Feast blog

♥ Meet Erin in the trailer she made for the original Forest Feast book. Her third book, focusing on gatherings, will be released this Fall.



For a chance to win a brand new copy of The Forest Feast for Kids, simply leave a comment at this post no later than midnight (EST) Tuesday, March 15, 2016. You may also enter by sending an email with FOREST in the subject line to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only, please. Good Luck!


wkendcookingiconThis post is being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Put on your best bibs and aprons, and come join the fun!




*Interior spreads posted by permission of the publisher. Text, illustrations, and photographs copyright © 2016 Erin Gleeson, published by Abrams Books. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.


37 thoughts on “[review + giveaway!] taking a peek at The Forest Feast for Kids by Erin Gleeson

  1. Mmm…I think I will make myself one of those parfaits for lunch. This looks like a great book to inspire kids to eat healthy yet delicious foods . What kid wouldn’t want to eat the rainbow? Love it!


    1. Think I’ll join you in your lunch choice. The book is such a fun and beautiful feast for the eyes. I love the diagram layout for the recipes.


  2. Oh, this is beautiful. I’m such a sucker for watercolored food and recipes in addition. That this is vegetarian and for kids makes it an automatic win, but the cute little step-by-step and tiny delicacies – that takes it over the top! That apricot and strawberry I can just imagine the scent and piquancy. The pictures really bridge the gap for non English speakers as well, so this is a definite purchase for a friend of mine who writes cookbooks, and her kids – in Estonia.


  3. Thank you dear Jama for the mention of my review. I love this cookbook! I’m sending it out for a gift this week. I will link to your lovely post on my blog this very minute. I hope your week has been wonderful so far.


  4. This is just what every child and every parent needs to share a lovely, healthy lifestyle!


  5. The art alone is so worth the book. I haven’t seen her blog before, but I’ll be checking it out. The pizzas look awesome and so do the apricots. Oh the parfaits … okay, so I love it all!!!


    1. The photos are just gorgeous. It’s one of those cookbooks where you could simply feast with your eyes and be satisfied, even if you didn’t actually make any of the recipes.


  6. My granddaughter turns five next month. I would LOVE to get her started in the kitchen and this cookbook seems perfect. The colorful illustrations are exquisite!


  7. I have a ten-year-old granddaughter who would love this book. Her birthday is coming in April and you’ve given me a great idea for a gift. She is just discovering the beauty in food preparation and that it’s about more than making “stuff” to shove in your mouth. Thanks for sharing this book today. (You know, of course, that Nana is going to spend time with this book too.)


  8. Great review! From the color to the photos and pictures, this looks like one gorgeous cookbook. I love the step by step directions and the photos of the ingredients, making it easy for every age and cooking level. 😉


  9. We have this checked out from the library right now, and indeed, it’s gorgeous. My 10-year-old has already picked several recipes to try soon.


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