Dora & Diego Let’s Cook

It might be a little confusing, but little Dora, the perky 7-year old bi-lingual cartoon explorer is celebrating her 10th anniversary this week.

Ten-year-old birthday: that’s big news to the under-six set, who watch her show.

To continue the celebration, try Dora & Diego Let’s Cook (Wiley 2010), a hardcover, spiral cookbook, full of cartoon pictures of Dora, her side kick Diego and animal friends. It isn’t clear who the actual author of the recipes is – other then Dora herself.

The book starts with a helpful page outlining Age-Appropriate Tasks. There are plenty of safety warnings – and these passages are addressed to the child so they should be read out loud. The recipes are meant to appeal to kids, so they often have cute names and the food is arranged to resemble an animal or geography. The breakfast recipes include Birds’ Nests (pp. 14-5) that are baked eggs surrounded by hash browns. Rescue Kayaks in the Lake (pp. 24-5) includes slices of apricots to stand in for the kayaks and oatmeal for the lake (who ever heard of a mountain lake looking like oatmeal?) A little icon points out where kids can help – in this case kids can stir the yogurt into the oatmeal. Many of the recipes call for prepared foods – so you’ll have to look elsewhere if you want to start from scratch.

Kids might like Diego’s Silly Snake Sticks (p. 36-7) which are breadsticks with pimento stuffed olives for the heads. Other snacks include Dora’s Empanadas (pp. 40-1) that calls for packaged pie dough and simple stuffing. There are also plenty of recipes that focus on vegetables, like Fiesta Trio Frittata (pp. 60-61) that includes ingredients for Ham & Asparagus, Spinach & Tomato, and Broccoli & Roasted Red Pepper versions. Big pictures of Dora, Diego and their monkey friend decorate the pages along with flowers, and trees and plenty of color. Each recipe has plenty of Spanish words and plenty of encouragement. Many of the recipes are Mexican or South American in inspiration – like the Incan Quinoa Pudding (pp. 108-9) that includes dulce de leche and quinoa.

While Dora & Diego Let’s Cook might not win you friends among kids over 8, die-hard Dora fans will giggle with delight — and just might eat a few more veggies.

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