What’s Cooking, Jamela? by Niki Daly


What’s Cooking, Jamela, story and pictures by Niki Daly, offers a necessary  insight  into the grand effort underway to provide children with a realistic understanding of where our food comes from.

Most adults are very comfortable exploring with children where fruits, vegetables, nuts, and dairy products really come from. But when it comes to meats and poultry – we all need a 4-H experience!

Animals are used in tales and stories for a wide range of reasons; anthropomorphic creatures and critters teach the lessons of fables, guide young readers through cautionary tales, provide rib tickling comedy and delight and above all else, safely engage children in the emotions of tenderness and compassion when  caring for another “being.”

In What’s Cooking Jamela and her mother select a young chicken to fatten up for Christmas dinner.

And that’s what happens.

The chicken does fatten, through the care and attention, and affection Jamela pours into the bird. Come holiday time, her young heart can not handle the idea of tossing Christmas into a pot (Christmas becomes the chickens name.) So with the grit and blind gumption of a young girl, she escapes with the bird, creating mayhem in their wake.

The holiday occurs. There is a happy ending.

ACTIVITY: There is much to discuss with this book about the animals we consume. Use this book to discuss how your family feels about the way animals should be treated on farms. If you family says grace before meals, see if you can intentionally share gratitude to the animals who provide protein and sustenance.


Arlington, VA

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