Kids’ Cooking (and Giveaway!): Once Upon a Time in the Kitchen, by Carol Odell

The Sweet Pea was super excited when she found this cookbook in the library, Once Upon a Time in the Kitchen by Carol Odell. She loves books. She loves cooking. It was a perfect marriage. When she showed me the recipes and asked if she could review it*, I gave an enthusiastic “Yes!”


Not only does the book feature simple, whole food recipes easy enough for any child to make by himself, it also includes an excerpt from 21 favorite children’s stories. Each recipe is matched with a story, so that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is accompanied by a recipe for The Queen of Hearts’ Jam Tarts, and The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle has inspired the Do-very-little Sausages–a recipe that my kiddos found hilarious in its simplicity.

Here is the Sweet Pea’s assessment of her time spent cooking with Carol Odell’s charming book:

I picked this cookbook because you can read a fragment of a story in which the recipe is used. For instance, you can make Shortbread Stars after reading “The Fir Tree”. The book gives you a portion of the story (in this case the story of “The Fir Tree”) and a recipe to go with each story.

The cookbook that I chose has a picture [an illustration, not a photograph] for each story. “The Fir Tree” has a painting of a fir tree. I’ve never exactly liked cookbooks with out photographs for some reason [She gets that from her mama. Oy!]. Other than that, it was a great cookbook.


I think that the recipes in here are British recipes. The book has British ingredients in it. I really liked that if you don’t like salami in a salad, you can leave it out and it doesn’t mess up the whole recipe. I also liked how specific they were in the directions.

I was able to make most of the recipes by myself.  When my friend came over, she and I made Cheese Pillows. Except, they didn’t turn out like cheese “pillows”. They turned out more like cheese “lumps”. But it was really good, anyway.



 My “Queen of Hearts Jam Tarts” were probably my favorite.  They were nice and sweet, and the dough that I used was really good, too. I want to make it again!


 The recipes are really easy to follow, and fun to make. I think that other kids would really enjoy the cookbook.

Review posts are my opinions on items that were sent to me free of charge. The items were given to me, but the thoughts and opinions are my own. I do not provide reviews of every item sent to me and only review items that I find to be truly worthy of recommendation.

Sleeping Bear Press is giving away two copies of Once Upon a Time in the Kitchen! To enter:

We’ll randomly choose two winners to receive a free copy of Carol Odell’s Once Upon a Time in the Kitchen on January 15th!


Print Recipe

The Queen of Hearts Jam Tarts

This simple recipe is published here with permission from Sleeping Bear Press.

Source: Once Upon a Time in the Kitchen by Carol Odell

Course: Desserts (Pie)



  • 2 sheets frozen piecrust thawed, or use ready-made pastry cases
  • butter a walnut-size knob of
  • raspberry jam or other jam


  1. Preheat the oven to 430 degrees F.
  2. Put a little butter or margarine on waxed paper or a paper towel, and rub it over the insides of the muffin cups.
  3. To make tart cases: cut circles out of the pie crust sheets to fit the muffin cups, then gently press one into each muffin cup so that the pastry sits on the pass of the up and up the sides to the top edge. Trim off any excess pastry by pressing your finger along the top edge. (Or use the ready-made pastry cases.)
  4. Put a teaspoonful of jam in the middle of each tart case.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

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50 Responses to Kids’ Cooking (and Giveaway!): Once Upon a Time in the Kitchen, by Carol Odell

  1. Actually, we would love the Finn McCool and The Great Fish and the Finnegan and Fox, as that is my son’s name. But, as for the alphabet books, I think we would like the K is for Keystone, representing our home state!

  2. S is for SHAMROCK! My daughter received that book on her 1st St. Patrick’s Day in 2009. It is such a treat to pull it out every year. She has learned so much from that. I guess we need K is for Keystone next, since we live in Philadelphia.

    • The Cook book looks great for my daughter too! She has been learning to read, and she LOVES cooking! I too, wish the book had photos of the recipes though.

  3. Thanks for the review and for the Queen of Hearts Tart recipe. I looked at the link and couldn’t quite read the print but it seems as if the recipes are whole food recipes and I would like to try this book with my after-school group, Cooking with Julie and Kids.

  4. My children would love B is for Bagpipes. They love learning about Scotland and this would be a fun way to impart information.

  5. Wow…they ALL look so cool! I would have to choose the Nebraska alphabet since we live in Nebraska, but we also love cats & music, so those alphabets look fun too!

  6. I would love to read M is for Mom. We love alphabet books and find that when we “sing” the book, the little readers are engaged. Thanks for the opportunity to win the cookbook!

  7. Well, since my husband is from Michigan, we would love to have all the books about his wonderful state: M is for Michigan, The legend of Michigan, Diary of a Michigan Kid, The Michigan Counting Book, Mackinaw Bridge: The Story of the Five Mile Poem, Look and See Michigan with Me

    Also, my husband and I met and married in Italy while serving as U.S. Navy musicians. So, C is for Ciao: An Italy Alphabet, M is for Melody: A Music Alphabet & Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band would be great picks too.

    This is a great website for interesting books! Thanks for the link!

  8. The cookbook would be great fun for my grand daughter, and the “I, Q” series sounds interesting for my daughter. Thanks for the chance!

  9. I would like to read the “F is for France” book with my daughter who is asking to learn French so she can be an exchange student there when she’s older!

  10. This series is new to me, and I honestly cannot pick just one that I would like to have for my 4 girls. We love books in our home.

  11. We have read A Christmas Spider’s Miracle. I know my daughter would enjoy the cookbook and that provides us with something to enjoy together. Thanks so much for the chance to win!

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