With countless cooking shows featuring kids and teens, there’s never going to be enough Disney Princess-inspired baked cookies, avocado toast, and chicken tenderloins. Both novice cooks and experienced bakers will find what they are looking for among these seven recent cookbooks.

With countless cooking shows featuring kids and teens, there’s never going to be enough Disney Princess-inspired baked cookies, avocado toast, and chicken tenderloins. We’ve rounded up a slew of recent cookbooks that will inspire young chefs in your library. Novice cooks and experienced bakers alike will find something to enjoy among these selections.

American Girl Sweet & Savory Treats Cookbook: Delicious Recipes Inspired by Your Favorite Characters. 144p. Weldon Owen. Nov. 2021. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781681887753.
3-6 g –A collection of kid-friendly dishes inspired by 17 historical American Girl characters. Organized into four sections, this attractively designed American Girl franchise cookbook includes more than 50 sweet and savory recipes, like Berry Frozen Yogurt Bites and Swedish Meatballs with Sour Cream Sauce. Among the recipes are profiles of American Girl characters (Addy Walker, Molly McIntire, and Luciana Vega, for example) that provide food-related history and trivia. Most, but not all, recipes will catch the eyes and stomachs of young cooks with a color photograph of the finished dish that looks delicious. Each character’s profile of their cuisine and popular foods of their time adds informative cultural context. The inclusion of American Girl characters from different religious and ethnic backgrounds is a highlight. Some recipes evoke their strong cultural ties, such as Rebecca Ruben’s Potato Latkes and Josefina Montoya’s Mexican Wedding Cookies. Of varying difficulty, the recipes do not indicate the duration of preparation and the cooking/cooking time, so it is essential to read the instructions carefully. VERDICT American Girl enthusiasts will seize it with impatience. Recommended for libraries with youth cookbook collections.

American Girl Tea Parties: delicious sweets and savory treats to share. 128p. Weldon Owen. September 2021. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781681887593.
4-7 g –An attractively designed cookbook from American Girl for young readers ready to elevate their tea party celebrations. Even the most picky eaters will find something to enjoy in one of the six cookbook sections: Teatime Classics, Cakes & Cupcakes, Fruity Desserts, Savory Snacks, Drinks and Basics. Recipes range in complexity, from simple ham and cheese tea sandwiches to the more laborious summer fruit buttermilk pie. The majority of recipes are associated with a close-up photograph of the finished dish; more complex recipes like Mango Dim Sum Pancakes and Potato and Pea Samosas would have benefited from step-by-step pictures to illustrate assembly. Most entrees suggest an American or Eurocentric influence, but there are a handful of dishes from Japan, India, China, and Taiwan. Recipes that require adult assistance have a helpful illustration of a hand with a star. The girls in the photographs who cook and participate in tea parties appear to be white, black and Asian. VERDICT The general focus of the cookbook on niche teas may turn some readers away. Shop where other American Girl branded and themed cookbooks are popular.

The Complete Cookbook for Teen Chefs: 70+ Teen Tested and Approved Recipes for Cooking, Eating and Sharing. 208p. America’s Test Kitchen. March 2022. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781948703956.
8th year superior – A well-designed and visually appealing educational cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen for teens, aimed at both beginners and experienced cooks. The 70+ recipes included are grouped by meal type and difficulty level. In addition to ingredients and cooking steps, each easy-to-follow recipe layout contains helpful content like a “Before You Start” tip, specific “how-to” information, and dish variations. All recipes contain a finished dish photograph, with those requiring assembly or shaping (Shakshuka, for example) having additional step-by-step photo instructions. Overall, this diverse set of recipes representing most regions of the world will appeal to varying palates and skill levels as teens progress from basics like Kheer and Hearty Avocado Toast to more delicate Onigiri and Whoopie Pies. Interspersed photos depict teenagers from different ethnic backgrounds, adding to the overall accessibility of this cookbook. The only special dietary indicator included is vegetarian. VERDICT Recommended for all libraries.

Combes, Esther. Kids can cook: Recipes for budding bakers. 64p. Button. Oct 2021. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781787081093.
4-7 g –Enthusiastic young bakers will enjoy putting their skills to the test as they tackle snacks and treats in this short and informative cookbook. It showcases traditional British tastes with a slight European influence. Thirty distinct recipes of varying complexity are organized into sections by type of baked product. Many require a high degree of attention and precision. The occasional inclusion of recipe variations allows bakers to customize basic recipes like cookies and muffins. Hand-drawn illustrations with pictures of the ingredients needed, the recipe steps and the final dish are featured on the recipe pages. Steps such as kneading, rolling, and mixing depict illustrated hands of different skin tones. Cookbook users who prefer photographs may be disappointed by this design choice, which diminishes the appeal of some dishes. Before the recipes is a short set of informative content that includes kitchen safety tips, common equipment, and explanations of basic techniques like folding ingredients and lining a cake pan. VERDICT Shop for collections that need baking themed cookbooks for tweens.

The Disney Princess Cookbook. 144p. Disney. September 2021. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781368060738.
Group 1-3 –Disney enthusiasts will find something to feast on in this magical collection of dishes inspired by Disney Princesses. Organized by meal, the 50 included recipes and accompanying full-page color photographs will please even the pickiest of palates, with dishes like the Triple Delicious Fruit Salad and Cozy Cottage Chicken Tenders. Each recipe is loosely tied to a specific princess or individuals from her world through the recipe title, a movie-related trivia, and accompanying artwork from the animation. A recipe difficulty scale of one to five crowns helps readers gauge which dishes match their skill level. Helpful information on cooking and food safety, measuring ingredients, and cleaning precede the recipe sections. While it may not appeal to readers unfamiliar with the Disney Princess universe, this upbeat and colorful cookbook is sure to appeal to fans young and old. For added enjoyment, the illustrations also feature the princesses’ animal friends or important male characters from their world, such as Merida’s brothers or Tiana’s handsome Prince Naveen. VERDICT Recommended for youth cookbook collections, especially where Disney-themed books are popular.

Resnick, Ariane. Disney Princess: Healthy Treats Recipe Book. 128p. Overview. September 2021. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781647223762.
4th-6th grade –Readers looking for tasty foods with a nutritious twist will find much to enjoy in this Disney Princess-themed cookbook created by a certified nutritionist. With an emphasis on shareable portions and wholesome ingredients, this volume features a good mix of savory and sweet themed dishes, such as Tiana Gumbo Rolls, Pua Purple Yam Tarts, and Fairy Godmother Wands. The difficulty of the recipe varies from simple to assemble (Snow White Forest Toast) to the most complex and precise (Mulan Sesame Layered Custard Tart). A whimsical little illustration of the associated Disney Princess adorns each recipe alongside a short anecdote connecting the dish to the princess’s world. Most, but not all, recipes contain a color photograph of the finished dish. While all recipes strive to showcase each princess’s unique background, the strongest cultural connections exist in the dishes associated with Tiana, Moana, and Jasmine. The focus on special and alternative healthy ingredients, like coconut sugar, xylitol, avocado oil, and almond flour, makes it a good choice when families are aiming for keto cooking. ­VERDICT A sure hit for Disney Princess aficionados. Recommended for large collections or libraries that are creating a section of cookbooks for young people.

Star Wars: Galactic Baking: The Official Sweet and Savory Treats Cookbook of Tatooine, Hoth, and Beyond. 128p. Overview. May 2021. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781647223779.
4th year superior –Bakers ready for an intergalactic experience will find much to enjoy in this franchise-based cookbook inspired by planets from the Star Wars universe. This collection of over 40 tasty, mostly sweet recipes ranges from simple dishes like Loth Cat-Kibble and Swamp Vines to more complicated dishes like Mustafarian Molten Lava Cakes and Forest of Endor Log Cake. All bakers should be aware: careful reading of recipe instructions is essential, as a few involve increased preparation/cooking time or specific assembly steps. Some may be disappointed with the need for specialized bakeware to tackle carbonite cakes and character-based sugar cookie cutter recipes. The needles shown for building multi-step recipes appear to be white. Overall, this fun, easy-to-read cookbook will help fans young and old get their snacking game up to speed just in time for movie night. VERDICT Recommended for purchase where the Star Wars franchise is popular.


Pearl Derlaga, York County, PL, VA