I love pancakes, and so do my daughters. I will pat my own back for a moment and admit that I make the most delicious whole wheat pancakes from scratch. The brown sugar and extra vanilla make for an absolutely divine pancake experience.
However good my pancakes may be, I have nothing on Jack and his mother in Eric Carle’s Pancakes, Pancakes. In this story, Jack really wants a big pancake for breakfast, but his mother is busy with chores, and he has to help gather the ingredients. That should be easy, one would think, but not in this household. Jack has to thresh the wheat, gather the eggs, milk the cow, churn the butter, and so on, just to make one pancake. But I am sure that it is worth it.
Eric Carle is an extremely prolific children’s book author. He is most famous for The Very Hungry Caterpiller. His books are wonderful for toddlers because they are repetitive and brightly colored. They teach young children patterns and sequencing. They are also lots of fun for little ones to chant back to parents.
Pancakes, Pancakes takes the skill of sequencing to a more abstract level for slightly older children. Children are aware of the finished product of pancakes, but in this story they get to learn where each of the ingredients come from. It also raises their awareness of the complexities of the food on their tables. Sort of an Omnivore’s Dilemma for the early elementary crowd. My girls always ask lots of questions about wheat production while we read the book. I have even taken them on an impromptu field trip to the water wheel at Michie’s Tavern (near Monticello in Charlottesville, VA ).
And, to top off this great book, Eric Carle includes a very simple recipe for pancakes at the end. Perfect!