Barbara Beery scored a homerun this year with Batter Up Kids: Delicious Desserts, a cookbook that features bright colors, numerous photographs, clear explanations, and straightforward recipes to help children prepare tasty treats. Getting little ones interested in cooking is something Beery is all too familiar with. In 1991 the Austinite founded Batter Up Kids, a cooking school for children, and she’s been busy kneading dough, encouraging future chefs, and talking about having fun in the kitchen ever since. In fact, Beery will appear on the Food Network’s Good Eats in October.

Beery’s cookbook is a good mix of images, easy-to-follow instructions, and playful type. In each recipe every ingredient is accompanied by a photo, although the pictures don’t always reflect the measurement size (a shot of a salt shaker can be found next to the words “a tiny pinch of salt”). Still, the visual cues somehow make the page more inviting. And for those who want to know what the finished product should look like, there are pictures, of course. Bare in mind that some of those masterpieces at home might look a little different than the images in the book.

A few recipes offer shortcuts to make traditional desserts more manageable for practical little chefs. Canned biscuits make Hidden Treasure King’s Cake less of a hassle, and a box of cake mix saves a few steps for making Volcano Cupcakes. Martha Stewart will never know! Still, recipes like Jumping for Gingerbread Cookies, with almost a dozen ingredients, not counting those for frosting and decoration, will give aspiring Emerils a chance to stretch their wings.

Batter Up Kids provides useful information on the basics too. The inside cover, devoted to measuring ingredients, describes the proper process for filling scoops and cups and also includes time-saving tips and a brief conversion chart. Parents will like the page on kitchen safety and the glossary on the back cover.

Check out these other big hits:

Flying Frog Pudding

Igloo Ice Pops

Pink Princess Cake

Totally Tea Cake Cookies

Can You Fondue?