PERFECT PANCAKES IF YOU PLEASE

A bejeweled caricature of a king, perfectly rotund and greedy, offers his daughter's hand in marriage to the suitor who can produce a stack of perfect pancakes. This parody of the way in which princess brides gain their spouses is full of familiar patterns and plotting, complete with a handsome young beau, Roderick, and an evil inventor, Maximilian. While poking fun at the fairy-tale genre, Wise (Ten Sly Piranhas, 1993, etc.) tells a laugh-aloud story about a king's breaking his promise to Maximilian, whose little black box spits out perfect pancakes. He promptly curses the kingdom, and not since Homer Price's doughnut machine has a wacky invention gone so splendidly haywire—a plethora of pancakes is the result. Egielski masterfully stretches the humor of the story, peopling the pages with pop-eyed Roy Gerrardlike characters engaged in convincingly ridiculous comedy just this side of wild. The Evil Inventor is a perfect Rumpelstiltskin figure, down to his skeleton cufflinks. Neither author nor illustrator neglects the happily-ever-after ending, in which Maximilian is shipped off to the moon, the king temporarily realizes his folly, and the princess gets her man. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8037-1446-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1996

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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