Can I Eat That? by Joshua David Stein, illustrated by Julia Rothman, published by Phaidon
Our now three and a half year old daughter has always been keen to try new food. She has some unusual favourites too - she adored olives at a very young age, is a tomato fiend, and now has a penchant for aubergine. Her little sister has just turned one and already has half a mouthful of teeth. As she starts to try new flavours and textures, both of them are curious to know - what's for eating and where is it from.
'Can I Eat That?' is a picturebook worthy of a Michelin star - with its big dollop of laughs, its generous dash of surrealism, and its eye-candy illustrative filling. A culinarily curious child will revel in the questions posed on the books pages such as "If I can eat jelly...and I eat fish...can I eat jellyfish?!" The delightfully surprising answer of "Actually, you can!" is accompanied by an informative explanation and tasty demonstration.
Fun is also had with plays-on-words - "If there is ketchUP is there...ketchDOWN?"
There is visual humour too, such as the image of a tiny green oval against a shocking pink backdrop, accompanied by the question "Is this a faraway lime or a life-sized pea?"
There's also a pretty good explanation to that most philosophical of eatery enigmas - the respective origins of chickens and eggs.
The pictures throughout are a feast for the eyes - seasoned with a distinctively pop-art flavour (with nods to Warhol's soup and Lichtenstein's backdrops). Possibly our favourite page is the final one, with the heading "Can I Eat?" - presenting a smorgasbord of linguistic tapas, from "two cans of soup" to "toucans", from an "eclair" to a "high chair", from "apple pie" to "pineapple".
Can I Eat That? is a truly satisfying delight, from first course to pudding.