Food and the Fantastical: A Storytelling Bibliography to Salivate Over

Selected and annotated by Hannah Mueller and Anna Lapp.


Have your tastebuds ever tingled for tales full of sweet-smelling dough, savory tortillas, or even stone soup? In these charming folktales and folk-like tales from long-cherished and newly discovered authors, find yourself absorbed by characters who take deliciously risky ventures in the woods, castles, and even their own kitchens!


Alley, Zoë B. There’s a Wolf at the Door; illus. by R. W. Alley. Porter/Roaring Brook, 2008. 34p. Gr. 3–5.

Five classic tales weave their way into one tale about a wolf who cannot catch his lunch. All this wolf wants is a goose, a pig, lamb…or even that little girl in the red cloak. Will this wolf finally fill his belly, or will he go home hungry?


Aylesworth, Jim. The Gingerbread Man; illus. by Barbara McClintock. Scholastic, 1998. 32 p. 4-7 yrs.

The gingerbread man is running, and running away from everyone who wants a delicious bite of him. This classic story will have you licking your lips for a tasty gingerbread man! 


Compestine, Ying Chang. The Real Story of Stone Soup; illus. by Stéphane Jorisch. Dutton, 2007. 32p. 6-9 yrs.

This version of stone soup is based on the Chinese legend. The fisherman complains about his lazy workers, even though he truly is the lazy one. When it comes time for lunch he barks orders at his workers instead of helping, and when the pot comes up missing he decides to serve them stone soup instead. The workers are clever, and they decide to make the ‘stone soup’ into something much more delicious.

Davis, Aubrey. Bagels from Benny. illus. by Dušan Petričić. Kids Can Press, 2003. 32 p. 5-8 yrs.

Cookies, cakes, buns and especially bagels! Benny helps his Grandpa run his bakery before he leaves for school every morning. Everyone loves his Grandpa’s delicious bagels—crusty on the outside and so soft on the inside. One day, Benny discovers his Grandpa never allows people to thank him for the bagels, instead he tells Benny to thank God. Benny’s confusion over giving thanks to God lands him placing bagels in the synagogue every week, and what happens along the way will melt your heart like butter on a stovetop.


Davis, Aubrey. Bone Button Borscht. illus. by Dušan Petričić. Kids Can Press, 1997. 32 p. 5-9 yrs.

Everyone loves a steaming hot bowl of button borscht soup! When a standoffish town hears that a beggar can make soup from five bone buttons, they’re captivated. In fact they’re so excited, they offer to help the beggar. One brings spices, another carrots, another cabbage, and even some pickle juice. In this heart-warming tale, a beggar may just teach common folk that true generosity starts with a few buttons and ends with a savory soup.


Gaiman, Neil, Hansel and Gretel; illus. by Lorenzo Mattotti. Toon Graphic, 2014. 53p. Gr. 3–5.

Take a peek into some dark woods with a graphic twist. The famed Neil Gaiman and his illustrator counterpart Lorenzo Mattotti remake the Grimms’ Hansel and Gretel into a deliciously haunting tale of tasty children and escape. True to the original story, Hansel and Gretel: A Toon Graphic will leave you salivating for more.


Kimmel, Eric A. Onions and Garlic. illus. by Katya Arnold. Holiday House, 1996. 32 p. 5-8 yrs.

Getzel, the youngest brother of three, is neither predicted nor favored by his family to be a successful merchant. When his father sends him on a sabotage mission with just a big sack of onions, he is shipwrecked and then washed ashore on a beach full of diamonds! Onions and Garlic is a cookbook of a different sort—a story of unexpected fulfillment and estimating your limits.


Kimmel, Eric A. The Runaway Tortilla. illus. by Randy Cecil. Winslow, 2000. 34 p. 4-7 yrs.

The cowboys of Texas know where the best tortillas are made: by Tia Lupe and Tio Jose near the Rio Grande. Their tortillas are so light and fluffy, one brave tortilla pulls herself off the griddle and runs away! Followed by a band of characters into the desert, the tortilla chants for her followers to “run as fast as they can,” but will the tortilla run into a foe of her own?


Knutson, Barbara. Love and Roast Chicken: A Trickster Tale from the Andes Mountains. ad. and illus. by Barbara Knutson. Carolrhoda, 2004. 32 p. 4-7 yrs.

In the Andes Mountains, a hungry guinea pig finds himself trapped by a fox—not once, but multiple times! But this guinea pig is no fool, and he uses his cunning ideas to repeatedly escape the fox and trick a farmer to keep his belly full of leafy, green alfalfa. Full of foodie fun, Love and Roast Chicken will have you chuckling at the way a small, sassy creature outwits his intimidating predator.


Lurie, Alison. The Black Geese: A Baba Yaga Story from Russia; illus. by Jessica Souhami. DK Pub., 1999.

Everyone fears Baba Yaga, the witch who devours children! So when the black geese snatch up Elena’s baby brother as a tasty treat for the witch, Elena must use her resourceful mind to come to the rescue. With gifts from magical animals along the way, will Elena save her baby brother from the munching mouth of Baba Yaga? 


MacDonald, Margaret Read. Conejito: A Folktale from Panama; illus. by Geraldo Valério. Little Folk/August House, 2006. 32p. 3-6 yrs.

Conejito is very excited to visit Tía Mónica, largely for the scrumptious cakes and cookies that await him. But his rumbling stomach for sweets might get him into trouble—it turns out Señor Zorro, Señor Tigre, and Señor León find Conejito just as delicious as he finds cake!


MacDonald, Margaret Read. Fat Cat: a Danish Folktale. illus. by Julie Paschkis. August House, 2001. 34 p. 5-9 yrs.

Fat Cat has an appetite larger than life; he’ll gobble up all the treats and furniture and people too! When Fat Cat’s chef Mouse, who cooks him thirty-five pies a day, is swallowed up too, Mouse makes it his mission to shake up Fat Cat’s insatiable cravings and make him learn a lesson.


Manna, Anthony L. and Christodoula Mitakidou. Mr. Semolina-Semolinus: a Greek Folktale. illus. by Giselle Potter. Atheneum, 1997.  32 p. 3-6 yrs.

What better love is there than the love of delectable dessert? In this Greek folktale, Princess Areti is displeased by her suitors and decides to make a man of her own! From sugar, almonds, and semolina wheat, of course! But when a witch snatches up saccharine Mr. Semolina-Semolinus, Areti must journey far to get back her sweetie pie.


Osborne, Mary Pope. Kate and the Beanstalk; illus. by Giselle Potter. Atheneum, 2000. 34 p. 5-8 yrs.

This retelling of the classic “Jack and the Beanstalk” features Kate, a smart, fearless young girl. Her mother, furious at her for trading the cow for some magic beans, throws the beans out the window. Suddenly, a massive beanstalk grows and grows and grows. What is a curious girl to do but climb up the beanstalk and discover what is at the top. What Kate discovers may surprise you.


Perl, Erica S. Goatilocks and the Three Bears; illus. by Arthur Howard. Beach Lane/Simon, 2014. 34p. 4-7 yrs.

Described as “full of tummy-rumbling fun”, Goatilocks and The Three Bears is a tasty change from the traditional Goldilocks tale. Goatilocks slurps up porridge—three servings in fact—from Baby, Momma, and Papa. And then she slurps up some chairs…and beds too! Goatilocks may have an appetite too large for the Bear family to handle!


Perrault, Charles Cinderella; ad. and illus. by Barbara McClintock. Scholastic, 2005. 32p. 4-8 yrs.

Cinderella, retold by Barbara McClintock, has the sweetness of the ripe oranges that Cinderella grants to her greedy stepsisters when disguised at the ball. With traditional elements as comforting as fresh-baked biscuits and variation like butter that seeps into its warm layers, Cinderella is the cherry on top of your sundae for a lovely retelling of a classic tale.


Shepard, Aaron, One-Eye! Two-Eyes! Three-Eyes!: A Very Grimm Fairy Tale; illus. by Gary Clement. Atheneum, 2006. 32p. 6-9 yrs.

Two-Eyes is an anomaly compared to her “normal” sisters, one with one eye and the other with three, and no one in the village has two either. As Two-Eyes weeps with sorrow after her sisters deprive her of food, a witch grants her help. With charms for food to appear by her goat, sleeping spells for her sisters, and the magic of a gorgeous apple tree, One-Eye! Two-Eyes! Three-Eyes! will bewitch your heart and bring grumbles to your stomach!


Teague, Mark. The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf; written and illus. by Mark Teague. Orchard/Scholastic, 2013. 48p. 4–6 yrs.

This humorous retelling of “The Three Little Pigs” features a hungry wolf, who exhausts himself from all the huffing and puffing. These three little pigs decide that a good meal is the best medicine for a case of bad guy. Soon enough, the three little pigs and the somewhat bad wolf are good friends.