March 26, 2017

Pancakes for Supper: A Book Review

Written by Caldecott honor book author Anne Isaacs, this pioneer themed tale is set in the American wilderness. This Scholastic Press title is boldly illustrated by Mark Teague.

PERKS

Opportunities for student story predictions.

These exist each time the main character, Toby, meets a new forest animal. Since she trades one item of her winter gear for her safety each time, this provides a built in infrastructure for repeated instruction during the very first group reading.

Repetitive language.

Each time Toby or the animals speak, there are certain repetitive phrases used. This provides a consistent set of chances for young readers to gain confidence and accuracy with those phrases.

Integrated rhyming pairs.

On the majority of pages in the book, numerous pairs of rhyming words are available for student identification. This makes for a great whole group, reading buddy or independent study activity.

Inspirational illustrations.

The scale and color pairings chosen for this title’s pictures are such that children will be able to draw inspiration for their own literature-based art projects without feeling overwhelmed.

Built in pancake recipe.

The complete pancake recipe on the back of the book is a nice extra. Perfect for homeschooling parents looking for an extra extension activity, or teachers who love cooking in the classroom with students.

QUIRKS

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the ending the first time around. I found the “melting” of the animals, and the fully boiled and reduced syrup coming out of the tree instead of the more accurate clear sap to be a bit of a let down after the solid story build up of individual animal encounters. I also wasn’t quite sure why the title connection wasn’t worked in until the very end.

That being said, I did read on the interior book jacket flap about Anne Isaac’s affinity for tall tales as a story form. If this was the author’s intent, then teachers have an opportunity here for instruction by assigning the investigation and identification of the specific tall tale elements towards the end of the book, and in other parts of the story.

Have you had the chance to read Pancakes for Supper? What were your thoughts and reactions?

Photo Credit: Amazon.Com

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