by Corinne Lamoral , a freelance writer and media consultant, practicing part time corporate communications. She lives with her husband and three children on a koppie in Johannesburg where she pretends the distant hum of traffic is the ocean.

With just over a week until the end of the holidays, I am loving books that keep my children busy and happy.  A few of my favourite include:


The Silver Spoon for Children – Favourite Italian Recipes (Phaidon)

We have a small collection of kid’s recipe books but what I love about this beautifully illustrated children’s Italian cookbook is that the recipes are for real food.  No pink marshmallows squashed onto Marie biscuits (which have their time and place!). This is food you would like your children to eat and which they feel really proud of being able to make.

The editors have selected forty recipes from the famous recipe book The Silver Spoon, which is apparently found in almost every Italian family’s kitchen, and adapted them to suit children. We’ve tried the tomato bruschetta (easy and delicious – you can vary the toppings) and baked macaroni with parmesan (major comfort food) and are about to attempt the pizza dough – which has the kids very excited and me a bit nervous – I usually just buy the frozen pizza bases, so we’re stepping up here.

The background on Italian food and how to use everything from a grater to a blender are ideal for slightly older children age 8 up and will give them an appreciation for what they are making.  The step-by-step illustrations are well designed and perfect for all ages, making the recipes very accessible and fun. Considering that most children love pasta and pizza, an Italian cookbook is the perfect place to start cultivating a love of good food!



Humphrey’s Book of Fun – Fun – Fun

By Betty G Birney (faber and faber)


Humphrey’s book arrived with perfect timing – just as the cold spell returned to Joburg my nine year old has been sitting curled up on the couch with this book of puzzles, jokes, word searches, crosswords and games.  If you aren’t already a fan of the Humphrey series – all about the lovable hamster Humphrey and his life lessons – consider buying the first book The World According to Humphrey as well.  It will be a hit with all animal or hamster-loving kids and I’m grateful that it’s helped revive my daughter’s interest in her hamster, just when poor old Hammy was getting used to watching all the action pass by his cage.


African Seashores To Read, Colour and Keep

By Sally MacLarty (Random House Struik)

This range of colouring books focusing on the African seashore, birds and insects is lovely to pack on holiday or keep at home.  The books feature clear, well-drawn plants and creatures.  Full colour guides help when choosing the correct colours and the basic info about each animal or plant helps children learn while they play.  With a recommended retail price of R45 they also make well-priced gifts.

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