Posts Tagged ‘breakfast month’


Today seemed like the perfect time to talk about this enduring classic — it’s Banned Books Week, and, equally important, this story ends with a huge helping of pancakes!

I’ve loved Little Black Sambo since childhood and was not fully aware of all the details regarding its controversial history until recently. It’s been continuously in print since 1899, ever since the copyright was sold outright to a London publisher for a mere five pounds. Subsequently, the author lost all control over the more than 50 pirated editions distributed in ensuing decades. Many of these contained offensive illustrations perpetuating racial stereotypes — pictures not created by Scotswoman Helen Bannerman herself.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Bannerman’s own illustrations were not disputed. Innocently enough, she wrote the story for her two daughters while living in India, and never really intended to publish it until a friend encouraged her to do so. Bannerman mixed fanciful elements — one of the first black heroes in children’s literature encountering and outsmarting ferocious tigers in India, with a meal at the end featuring European pancakes.



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Ah, the wonder of pancakes!!

Does any other breakfast treat arouse as much unabashed joy and anticipation among diners of all ages? Whether you call them hotcakes, griddle cakes, flapjacks, flatcars, or heavenly hots, the reaction is the same. Almost every culture in the world has its own version of the pancake (crepes, blinis, galettes), and they’re all special. They’re also pretty ancient, dating back to Roman times.

As far as children’s books, pancakes outnumber bagels, pies, and cookies. They are the perfect example of how a beloved food establishes instant reader interest and connection, reinforced by the power of sensual description.


The first pancake stories, which have a long history and dubious European origin, fall into the Aarne-Thompson 2025 folktale classification of fleeing food. Earliest recorded versions, such as "The Runaway Pancake," date back to 19th century Germany and Norway. During this same period, the gingerbread man stories became popular in America. I suppose, then, we could rightly call pancakes the first "fast food."

But I won’t let them get away from you today. Here are some of my favorite pancake picture books, hot off the griddle, and guaranteed to make your kiddos, ages 4-8, flip!

Get ’em while they’re hot!

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Kix or Trix? Cocoa Pebbles or Cocoa Krispies?

Take this fun Cereal ID Quiz to find out! (I scored 14 out of 20).

Happy Sunday!!

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