"Cooking Up Summer Reading"
(Snacks For Kids)
Gwynne Spencer

This column is for your complimentary use. Please send two copies if you use it so I can pass the review along to the publisher and keep one in my clip file.

It's a fact--most kids don't read a book all summer. But they do eat! Chances are they'll gobble up reading if they get their hands on WHAT'S COOKING IN CHILDREN'S LITERATURE  (Linworth Publishing, ISBN 1-58683-005-8),  a unique cookbook by Gwynne Spencer.

It's full of hundreds of snack recipes that kids will love making--and love eating. Each snack ties directly to a children's picture book so it will feed their m inds as well as their stomachs. Snacks range from simple chocolate chip cookies (George and Martha's Pea Soup) to Too Many Tamales Pie to go with the Gary Soto book. One of the grosser recipes is Rotten Ralph's Kitty Litter Cake which  looks just like slightly used kitty litter and you serve it in a kitty litter  pan with a scoop.

There are recipes for Rainbabies in a Drawer, Rainbow Goblin cookies, and Moe the Dog in Tropical Paradise Smoothies that look wonderful and taste even better. Getting kids reading this summer may be as simple as picking a recipe,  going to the library and checking out the story book and then whipping up the snack that goes with it.

Most recipes require little or no cooking,  often only a microwave or crockpot. Many use mixes and easy shortcuts rather than recipes from scratch,  and most are totally yummy if you're a kid ( I do have my doubts about the Bird Pie to go with The Twits, however).

Summer camp counselors will get a kick out of the easy-to-make snacks that feed twelve kids, and summer reading programs will be infinitely enriched by having kids bring snacks to weekly storytimes! Although the volume is a bit pricey ($36.95 cover price, but Linworth is having a 20% off  sale through the end of July) the book is totally worth every penny.

If you're envisioning autumn, falling leaves, new lunchboxes and such WHAT'S  COOKING IN CHILDREN'S LITERATURE would be a great  "beginning of the school  year"  present to give to  your child's teacher who will undoubtedly use it  when planning the monthly snack calendar. To order, call Linworth Publishing,  800/786-5017. They take Visa/MC, purchase orders and checks.

Matthew Scholz is a freelance writer and biochemist who lives in Seattle. He invites your comments at scholzmb@yahoo.com.