In this quirky take on the tall tale, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are obsessed with pancakes, but mother knows best when it comes to nutrition.
Paul’s mom cannot feed him and Babe enough pancakes. Throwing up her beater and spatula, she finally protests, “I have fields to tend.” Paul and Babe try helping her, even though they refuse to eat the vegetables yielded. But they squish the plants with their big feet, so they are forced to leave home to seek their pancake fortune elsewhere. Cheerful gouache illustrations, which appear to be partly influenced by 1920s animated cartoons and contemporary street art, bounce with energy, driving the story forward as their adventures unfold. Paul and Babe are depicted with such bold, playful verve they could be restaurant mascots. The inclusion of colorful, hand-lettered text adds emphasis and acts as a balance to the art. In this somewhat slight retelling, their assistance clearing a logjam and the formation of both the Rocky Mountains and the Grand Canyon are directly related to their quest to get their fill of pancakes. They succeed—and get sick, just like Mom predicted. The doctor confirms it: The cure is a balanced diet; so the two turn for home and Mom’s healthy, homegrown food.
Perhaps not a staple, but a light, fluffy read nonetheless. (author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book. 4-8)