I rate this book highly at my own peril. This book is full of recipes Pearl will want to make right now, so I may be reviewing myself into a busy weekend. The fact that they all take no cooking takes some of the difficulty out of the recipes and some of the fuss of supervision. Pearl is already an independent chef in the house, so I shouldn't be worried.
Dambra includes mostly snacky have-fun kinds of food, even though some could serve as a meal. There is a little text box with each recipe including an extension activity and connecting the recipe to a children's book. The book connection was a great idea, but Dambra only pulled off a substantial connection about a quarter of the time. The rest of the time the connections felt like token free-associations.
The photographs were great. Four introduction photos show kids handling the food--including knives (awesome)! I might have rated this a five if each recipe had pictures of kids making it, or more process. All the photos through the body of the book are finished products (which is normal for a recipe book, but for a kids' activity book, I'd like to see a little process). Jeff Lange gets photographer credit on the copyright page, but not a title credit. I wonder if he's staff photographer for Redleaf or a hired camera. Photographers have told me that food photography is difficult, and as I understand it most magazine advertisements and article photos include plenty of styrofoam and other fake stuff that holds up well under hot lights. All of these photos are really good-looking, but I'm convinced these are photos of the real food and not styrofoam mockups. Any help from the author or photographer on this question?