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KIDS STUFF / Cookbooks for children

"Pretend Soup" (Tricycle Press, $17.99) by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson: This book aimed for kids ages 3 and older has become something of a classic of the genre for its comprehensive, simple and surprisingly delicious recipes. Each of the 17 vegetarian recipes appears twice, once in words and once in full-color pictures.

"Mom and Me Cookbook" (DK Children, $12.99) by Annabel Karmel: Another great choice for budding chefs ages 4-6. It has photos for step-by-step instructions even children can understand, and with a little adult supervision, they can manage all the steps. There are multiple pictures of each recipe -- including pictures of the finished dishes.

"Kitchen for Kids: 100 Amazing Recipes Your Children Can Really Make" (Whitecap Books, $24.95) by Jennifer Low: This is a nice choice for the preteen set, ages 8 and older, already interested in cooking and baking. Low offers 100 recipes that do not require using knives, small appliances or a stovetop. This is great, as it allows the child to do most of the work alone -- under the watchful eye of an adult, of course.

"The Silver Spoon for Children: Favorite Italian Recipes" (Phaidon, $19.95) by the editors at Phaidon: Geared to children ages 10 and older, this cookbook is a kids' companion to the "grown-up" Silver Spoon, the 50-plus-year-old, 1,000-page international bestseller that has been called the Italian "Joy of Cooking." This is a universal introduction to the kitchen with no cutesy language or recipes.

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