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Children's Nonfiction Zoos

Worms for Breakfast

How to Feed a Zoo

by (author) Helaine Becker

illustrated by Kathy Boake

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Mar 2023
Zoos, Zoology, Diet & Nutrition, Cooking & Food
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2023
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 7 to 10
  • Grade: 2 to 5


Ever wondered what zoo animals eat?

Feeding time is one of the most popular events at zoos. It also prompts a smorgasbord of questions: what do different animals eat? How much food do they need to stay healthy? Where do zookeepers get all that chow? And what constitutes a special treat?

New in paperback, Worms for Breakfast answers all these questions and more in a cookbook-style primer packed with facts from experts at zoos and aquariums. Covering everything from regular animal nutrition to feeding babies to mimicking how animals hunt and eat in the wild, this book explores the eating habits of carnivores, omnivores, herbivores, and insectivores. Inside, you’ll also find real-life recipes from zoos around the world for meals like eucalyptus-leaf pesto, kelp tank goulash, and mealworm mush. Beware! You probably don’t want to eat any of it yourself.

Written in a plucky, conversational tone with delightfully wacky illustrations, a glossary, and tips for zoo animal care, this book is bound to appeal to picky readers.

About the authors


Helaine Becker
est l'auteure de nombreux livres jeunesse primés. Elle a écrit plus de 80
livres, dont Raconte-moi les graphiques : L'histoire de William Playfair et
l'album illustré à succès Un porc-épic dans un sapin. Helaine
habite à Toronto, en Ontario.


HELAINE BECKER is the author of numerous of books of fiction and non-fiction for children, among them the best-selling A Porcupine in a Pine Tree and its sequel, Dashing Through the Snow: A Canadian Jingle Bells, The Haunted House That Jack Built and Little Jack Horner, Live from the Corner. Her books have won the Silver Birch Award and the CBA Libris Award and have been shortlisted for the Red Cedar, the Hackmatack and the Rocky Mountain awards. Helaine lives in Toronto with her family. Visit her at

Helaine Becker's profile page

Kathy Boake is an illustrator and fine artist. Her work has appeared in many publications, such as InStyle, Seventeen, Vancouver, Toronto Life, Outside, Chirp, Chickadee, and Owl magazines. She has won numerous awards from the Art Directors Club of Canada, the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, and the Western and National Magazine Awards Foundations. She has also illustrated several books, including You Are Weird by Diane Swanson and Chitchat: Celebrating the World’s Languages with Jude Isabella. Kathy lives in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada.

Kathy Boake's profile page


  • Short-listed, Nominated for Hackmatack Children's Choice Awards in Atlantic Canada
  • Short-listed, Nominated for the 2017 Silver Birch Nonfiction Award
  • Commended, A Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Unknown, Nominated for the 2017 Saskatchewan Willow Awards
  • Unknown, Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens

Editorial Reviews

"Great for libraries in need of fun, browsable animal books."

School Library Journal

"Fascinating and entertaining...disarmingly fun...a perfect book to read with a class before a trip to a local zoo, aquarium or animal sanctuary."

Canadian Children's Book News

"Playful...helps children relate to animals through food and"

Green Teacher Magazine

"Written in a conversational, engaging way. It is appealing even for my picky readers."

US National Science Teachers Association

"Animal lovers and aspiring vets or nutritionists will have plenty to feast on with this fun and informative book."

Quill & Quire

"The lively writing style will capture and hold reader attention throughout while the information presentation surprises and delights... Worms for Breakfast would be useful to share with a young person before or after a zoo visit, or to help kids think about the close and constant relationships we share with animals on a daily basis. Highly recommended."

Canadian Review of Materials

"I love this book! ...We could probably eat the gorilla cookies without the monkey chow in them. We could eat the dead ants. People could eat the "Digger's Delight" recipe, but I wouldn't want to eat out of a log. People who like animals and people who want to open a zoo should read this book."

Nishaant, Age 7, Kids Book Buzz

"This book is a ticket to a different sort of zoo tour."

Ithaca Child

"Animal lovers, especially the reluctant readers among them, will delight in the browsable approach and the window into zookeeping."

The Bulleting of the Center for Children's Books

"Boake's off-kilter photo-collages suit the mix of silliness and science...should provoke giggles."

Publishers Weekly

"While the tone is light and Boake's photo-collage illustrations zany, Becker doesn't avoid the tough stuff: though conservation and species protection are important jobs zoos do, animals kept there aren't always happy. Still, this inside look at zoo work is fascinating, and the gross-out appeal of the recipes is undeniable. Kiddos desperate to learn more about the zoo will scarf this down."


"With fascinating facts and a lively design, this is a surprisingly nourishing treat."

Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

"Unique...a great book for students fascinated with nonfiction and those who are reluctant readers. Recommended."

School Library Connection

Other titles by Helaine Becker

Other titles by Kathy Boake