Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Pancakes for Supper

Pancakes for Supper

Fall 2006 Picture Books
Ages: 3 - 5 yrs.
Author: Anne Isaacs
Illustrator: Mark Teague
ISBN: 0-439-64483-6
Hardcover Price: $15.99
Catapulted off a wagon and into a world where animals talk in rhyming couplets, Toby—a sturdy no-nonsense female of the human variety—faces off with a wolf (who gets her blue coat), a cougar (her yellow sweater), a skunk (her buck hide boots), a porcupine (her beautiful brown dress), and a bear (her orange mittens). As each animal struts off into the greensward muttering “Now I'm the grandest beast/West or East!” readers will begin to wonder if our poor heroine is about to be left without a proverbial stitch—she's down to her fuzzy red long johns and cap—when a tremendous uproar ensues. The animals have discovered each other in their newly-acquired haberdashery. In a New England riff on Little Black Sambo, the animals chase each other around and around the base of a tree until maple syrup is created and, for those who have been wondering where the title of the tale comes in, the mystery is finally resolved: pancakes (with maple syrup) for everyone! Reminiscent of Isaacs' tall-tale-nouveau, Swamp Angel, this has some of the same panache without the polished language. Teague's illustrations (could that be a grown-up Gracie riding in the wagon?) are full of bright colors, rounded shapes, exaggerated poses, tilted perspectives, and larger-than-life animals: the appropriate accompaniment for this larger-than-life tale.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2006 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

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