Raise your paws if you love pancakes. Now twitch your whiskers if you especially like eating them on Sundays. I thought so. 🙂
Just hearing the word “pancake” makes me happy. No wonder: they’re a universally beloved comfort food, a direct line to childhood memories of lazy Sunday morning family breakfasts. Pancakes drenched in maple syrup with pats of butter melting down the sides — yes, please!
Now, reading about pancakes is almost as good as eating them, so I was quite excited when I heard about Sunday Pancakes by Maya Tatsukawa (Dial BFYR, 2022). But. I. absolutely. was. not. prepared for the hug-myself adorableness of this darling book.
So, Cat’s all set to make pancakes but doesn’t have any eggs or milk. What to do? Call friends to see if they have some. Luckily Rabbit has eggs and Moonbear has milk. They’re hungry for pancakes too!
Rabbit zips over to Cat’s house on his scooter, singing as he goes. “Pancakes Flapjacks Hotcakes.” He’s a little hyper and clumsy, so when he hop-trips in the front door some of the food items fly out of his basket. Blueberries, carrots, eggs on the floor – well, not all the eggs (phew!).
Next, Moonbear arrives with a carton of milk and a jar of homemade – “HOOAANNHEY!” (That’s what “honey” sounds like when you’re tripping over a carrot.) 😀
One thing after another! Yet Cat and Moonbear manage to catch the milk and honey before they crash to the floor.
After this eventful start, the furry trio gets to work. Moonbear measures the milk and butter, while Cat cracks the egg. Rabbit volunteers to pour the flour, but struggles to open the bag, and “POOF” – flour everywhere!
Moonbear’s turned into a polar bear! 😀 Rabbit apologizes for the mess, but they have a good laugh over it. They finish measuring the ingredients and mix everything together.
Then it’s time to cook! Pour the batter, wait for bubbles to form, then flip! Cook the other side, then flip them onto a plate. Cat quickly finds his groove: flip, flip, flip – a nice stack of pancakes!
Then Rabbit asks for a turn (uh-oh). What happens when he pours batter into the pan? Splat! A little messy, but the funny looking pancake actually looks like Moonbear! Pretty cool. Now they simply must make Cat and Rabbit pancakes too. What fun!
Finally, it’s time to eat. They joyously devour a BIG stack of pancakes – so big, that after eating they need a nap.
In a little while, Cat and Moonbear are awakened by strange noises. They peek into the kitchen to find Rabbit at the stove in the midst of another flour-y mess. What now?
Well, “the only thing better than pancakes for breakfast . . . is PANCAKES FOR DINNER!” *flip flip flip*
There is a wonderful sweetness and childlike innocence to this story of three good friends cooking together. It doesn’t matter if things aren’t perfect since they have fun anyway and really enjoy eating the finished product. They take each mishap in their stride, patiently supporting each other, and even come up with a creative way to celebrate Rabbit’s splatty batter pouring.
Tatsukawa’s art is beyond endearing. She used graphic novel elements such as panels and speech balloons to tell the story, and I love the pastel palette of just a few basic colors (she was inspired by a traditional Japanese palette). The light green is very soothing, and the three characters – lavender cat, turquoise rabbit, dusty red Moonbear – appear very soft, lovable and huggable.
She created her pictures using stencils, handmade textures and photoshop (mainly for coloring). Pictures came first, followed by hand-lettering the text. Kids will love the amusing asides and sound effects (“thump,” “pat pat,” “oof,” “dash dash”), as well as the opportunity to learn new words by closely studying the pictures.
I like the spread showing the contents of Cat’s refrigerator as he tosses things out, with interesting words such as ‘kale,’ ‘kabocha,’ and ‘avocado.’ The copyright page features a bookshelf containing Maya’s other books and a special homage to her feline studio assistant (The Life of Mosami).
My favorite spread is probably the one of Cat calling Rabbit and Moonbear — via string telephone, of course. 🙂
This story was inspired by Maya’s childhood memories of making pancakes with her mom on Sundays. Apparently pancakes were the first thing she learned how to cook. And just like Cat, she had two best friends growing up in Japan whom she saw every weekend.
Don’t miss this delicious celebration of friendship, cooperation, and of course, fluffy, mouthwatering pancakes. It’s a warm, feel-good story brimming with kid appeal, and yes, Maya has included a recipe for Cat’s Sunday Pancakes. Hungry yet?
♥️ Check out the Activity Sheets at Maya’s website
*Interior spreads text and illustrations copyright © 2022 Maya Tatsukawa, published by Dial Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.
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*** Copyright © 2022 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.