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The Adventures of the Little Chef – Book Review

by Simon on December 9, 2012

Photo of The Adventures of the Little Chef book on a bed amongst stuffed toys.The Adventure of the Little Chef is a children’s story book written by Mark Yeow, a friend and former food blogger of the well written and well renowned Sydney food blog The Ninja Review.

As the subject matter of the book revolves around chefs, cooking and food, I was approached by the author to offer a review of his first published book for the blog.

Please read on for a summary of the story, opinions and whether or not this may be right for you as a potential Christmas gift.

Photo of the back cover of The Adventures of the Little Chef book
The Adventure of the Little Chef is a story about a little girl, known only as the “little chef”, who sets off to learn how to cook in order to feed the two hungry monsters that lurk under her bed and keep them from eating her and possibly her family.

During her adventures she travels vast distances and braves the elements in order to find a chef to apprentice with. The pint-sized protagonist has to also deal with the predatory, profiteering baker Wheatley, not to mention the two ravenous monsters under her bed that await her return - a fire-breathing dragon with a high-pitched laugh and a boogeyman, a monster consisting of snot that’s not to be mistaken with the fear-inducing bogeyman.

The story is artfully written in rhyming verse and reads much like a poem. It’s broken down into four bite-sized chapters; a convenience for parent narrators as it can keep bedtime storytelling short and sweet.

The reading level for the book is intended for children around the ages of 7-10 from what I’ve been told by the author, though the story itself could be understood by children much younger. However, the moral to the story, a response to its thought provoking opening sentence, is as relevant to a child as it is to the adult reading the story to them.

When you sit down to eat, do you pause to think
About the hands which made the meal which sits in front of you?

When was the last time you really thought about the people who make the food you eat?

Photo of The Adventures of the Little Chef book on a bed amongst stuffed toys, opened to show some of its artwork.

The artwork in the book, illustrated by Jamie Lee, is charming with its child-like quality. While it won’t likely win any awards, it’s something that a young child could relate to and is appropriate for the story given the apparent age of the little chef.

All the illustrations are in black and white which lends itself to the opportunity for children too young to read the story for themselves to apply their artistic talents by colouring in the various characters and scenes to their heart’s content.

At $11 at the time of this post, this little book is great value for those of you looking for an inexpensive Christmas gift for your children, nephews, nieces and so on. It’s one that I’ll be looking to give to a little chef that I know; a story I’m sure that she’ll thoroughly enjoy.

All proceeds from the sale of this book will be generously donated to the Fred Hollows Foundation; a foundation based in Sydney that is focused on blindness prevention both here and in many regions, including Africa and parts of Asia.

The book is available online for purchase via LuLu. While you’re there, check out the preview of the book for further insight into the story.

Also, feel free to check out Mark’s blog The Tamago Report; a resource to help aspiring writers hone their craft, both creatively and professionally.

In the spirit of full disclosure, as mentioned in the intro the author of The Adventures of the Little Chef, Mark Yeow, is a friend of mine. However, as is my policy for this blog, all opinions are honest and all words are my own. 

The Adventures of the Little Chef book was provided courtesy of the author for the purpose of review.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Simon Food Favourites December 9, 2012 at 10:23 am

Good to know it’s suitable for ages 7-10. My 11 month old baby girl would eat those pages for breakfast if I left it with her. Sounds like a nice story.
Simon Food Favourites recently posted..Ippudo: Japanese Ramen, Westfield Sydney (3 Dec 2012)

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Simon December 10, 2012 at 12:22 am

Yeah… I’d maybe give is a couple of years before you read the story to her and let her colour in the illustrations. Hopefully by that age, she’ll get more out of the book than just sustenance :)

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the former ninja December 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm

As an aside, all proceeds from sales of the book go to the Fred Hollows Foundation for their work in beating glaucoma, cataracts and other diseases which take away the sight of people in less fortunate areas around the world – many of whom are children.

Thanks for the kind words and I hope others enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it :)
the former ninja recently posted..Keeping what you write

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Simon December 10, 2012 at 12:10 am

That’s very generous for you to do and to such a worthwhile cause.

I’ll make sure to get back to you with feedback from my little chef when she has the story read to her :)

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Trisha December 10, 2012 at 10:26 am

How lovely! Mark has always had a great talent in writing so this is such a great achievement! And thanks Simon for the review!
Trisha recently posted..Australiana, Family & Celebrations at Lizard Log, Western Sydney Parklands

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Simon December 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm

It shows in the book but after following his blog for such a while, I keep half-expecting some sort of ninja reference to creep in somewhere :) hehe

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the former ninja December 15, 2012 at 10:20 am

thanks Trish :)

Simon, just wait for the sequel…

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The Food Sage December 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Food in fiction is fabulous and fantastic idea to explore it at the children’s level. I love the sound of this book. May put it on my own Christmas wish list!
The Food Sage recently posted..Spelling it out: the sensory language of seafood

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Amanda December 11, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Nice one, Simon, sounds like a lovely book. I’m especially impressed with the generosity of the author in donating the proceeds so that other children can see – and, one day, read too.
Amanda recently posted..Foodland – South Australia’s Own Independent Supermarket Turns 5o!

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milkteaxx January 7, 2013 at 11:00 am

thats such a cute concept!

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Vivian - vxdollface January 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm

oh i had no idea mark was working on this book! it’s so beautiful :) will need to get myself a copy, thanks for sharing!

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muppy February 3, 2013 at 4:28 pm

excellent, love love love “when you sit down to eat…” moral. we make family dinner time an important part of our lives and very often the kids help cook our dinner. i am going to buy it.
muppy recently posted..Ritual Restaurant, Nelson Bay (totally worth the trip)

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