[mouthwatering review] Pancakes to Parathas by Alice B. McGinty and Tomoko Suzuki


Good Morning! Buenos Días! Ohayōgozaimasu!

Have you eaten yet?

If you’re hungry, you’ve come to the right place.

Thanks to this delectable new picture book, you’ll be able to enjoy not one, but twelve different breakfasts in twelve different countries!

In Pancakes to Parathas: Breakfast Around the World (little bee books, 2019), author Alice B. McGinty and illustrator Tomoko Suzuki serve up a sweet and savory multiethnic feast that’ll tantalize taste buds and stir up a little wanderlust. Who could resist a charming invitation to tag along with such a delicious itinerary?

It’s breakfast time around the world,
in countries near and far.
Wake up, world! It’s time to eat,
no matter where you are!

McGinty features each of the twelve breakfasts with a short poem and engaging note, while Suzuki’s bold and colorful double page spreads not only spotlight the foods, but provide cultural context with architectural landmarks, flora and fauna, and sensory rich side dishes.

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[review + recipe + giveaway!] Eat Like a Gilmore: The Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of Gilmore Girls by Kristi Carlson

Mmmmmm! What’s that delicious aroma wafting over here from just two days away?

*closes eyes, inhales deeply*

Well, I think it’s mainly COFFEE –a freshly brewed good morning sunshine rich medium roast, fog up my glasses keep me humming all day kind of coffee.

Wait. There’s also pizza, cheeseburgers, chili fries. Risotto, spaghetti and meatballs, and glazed donuts. Is that pie? Oh, marry me chocolate pudding, beef-a-roni, oatmeal cookies!

They’re almost here, they’re almost here:


Credit: Netflix

This Friday, November 25, 2016, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” premieres on Netflix!

Finally, finally, finally, after nine l-o-n-g years of clenched fetal position withdrawal patiently waiting, we’re getting four, count ’em, FOUR, brand new 90-minute episodes all at the same time!

All I can say is, Copper Boom! Pop-Tarts! Huzzah!!

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friday feast: a Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations breakfast (+ a giveaway!)

Good Morning! Hungry?

Today we’re serving up a delicious five-course breakfast celebrating the most recent title in the totally faboo Poetry Friday Anthology series created by the incredibly brilliant and uncommonly good-looking poetry goddesses Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.

The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations (Pomelo Books, 2015) is the perfect way to greet the new school year. Just think of all the glorious Fridays to come, each brimming with oodles of opportunities to read, write, share, and yes, even eat poems! The collection contains over 150 poems by 115 poets, a toothsome smorgasbord of holiday poems written in both English and Spanish grouped by calendar month.

Poetry Friday Anthology series creators Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

What better way to celebrate special occasions like Easter, Rosh Hashanah/Tashlich, Earth Day, Valentine’s Day, Lunar New Year, Flag Day, Juneteenth, and National Soup Month (!!!!) than with poems that come with fun Take 5! mini-lessons to help teachers, librarians, and parents share the poems in ways that will engage and delight, facilitate discussion, and encourage further reading?

In addition to poems for widely observed holidays like Christmas, Halloween and Mother’s Day, kids will also enjoy learning about many quirky, lesser-known events (National Dump the Pump Day, Halfway Day, Band-Aid Day, World Laughter Day). Diversity also flavors this poetic feast (Gay Pride Day, Ramadan, Obon, Dashain Festival, Diwali, Day of the Dead), and there are birthday/ baby poems for each month!

I love that each poem is paired with a relevant picture book recommendation and also linked to another poem in the anthology with a similar theme or subject. If you’re hungry for even more, check out the referenced poetry books. Sylvia and Janet have thought of everything! This rich, wholly accessible and versatile resource, which features a gold mine of contemporary children’s poets (Jane Yolen, Eileen Spinelli, Douglas Florian, Janet Wong, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Marilyn Singer, Michael J. Rosen), simply belongs in every home, preK-6 classroom, school and public library. 🙂

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flippin’ over saipancakes

Nathan and daughter Alice

If you love pancakes, raise your hand!

Okay, just as I thought. That pretty much includes everyone.

Chances are good that if you’ve cooked pancakes for your kids (or the kid in you), you’ve probably made them with faces or in fun shapes now and again. But have you ever thought of kicking those pancakes up a notch with more intricate designs by theme?

Enter Seattle illustrator Nathan Shields, whose pancakes are not only amazing works of art but delicious teachable moments. He started making “silly pancakes” for his son Gryphon (6) and daughter Alice (3) while living in Saipan several years ago. These days all three of them “batter up” in the kitchen, creating pancakes inspired by books, movies, cartoon characters, animals, insects, and other real and imaginary creatures, with Nathan’s designs continuing to become more detailed and elaborate.


It’s fascinating to watch how quickly he can squirt out a new design — darker outlines hit the griddle first before he fills in the spaces. I love his portraits of famous people and fictional characters as much as his “scientific” sets (arthropods, marine invertebrates, cephalopods, beetles, wildflowers, reptiles, sharks, birds, human organs). If you’re into math, behold his fractals. Of course he’s also made many perennial kid faves (pirates, dinosaurs, Bad Piggies, monsters, robots, sport figures, bunnies).


They’re calling him the Pancake Genius. Who else would make human parasite pancakes? Who’s ever had a chance to actually eat them with lots of butter and maple syrup? 🙂

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a pair of fun foodie gift books

Actually, you don’t have to be a card-carrying foodie to love these two new Fall 2013 books.

Both encourage us to play with our food and appreciate food as art. Nothing I like more than a fanciful feast. 🙂


EAT YOUR ART OUT: Playful Breakfasts by IdaFrosk (Kontur Publishing, 2013). Norwegian food artist/enthusiast Ida Skivenes has been posting her creative breakfasts on Instagram every day since the summer of 2012.

She believes food should be healthy, tasty and fun. Most of the breakfast plates featured in her book take between 5-15 minutes to prepare, require simple equipment and available ingredients, and all are meant to be eaten. What started on a whim one morning has turned into a great food adventure (100,000+ followers, international media coverage, columns in newspapers and magazines, special projects).

I love that her first ever creations were a bear and a fox. She also includes a few tips and recipes for pancakes, hot cereal, granola, scones, and nut butter. Check out her blog for behind-the-scenes pics and background on her Instagram features. Fun for all ages!

Feed the Panda (and yourself) All images © 2013 Ida Skivenes
Crazy Like a British Scone Fox
Little Red Strawberry Riding in the Hood
Edvard Munch: “Scream” (Art Toast Project)

* * *


BIG APPETITES: Tiny People in a World of Big Food by Christopher Boffoli (Workman Publishing, 2013). This is a collection of Boffoli’s internationally-known series of photographs featuring tiny people posing in real food environments. Amusing, outlandish, snarky, and handily skewing our sense of perspective, Boffoli’s photos tease the imagination, whet the appetite for worlds beyond our own, and enable us to see common food items as never before — for their beauty, intense color, and wonderful textures. Readers of all ages will be drawn to these fascinating scenes, but the tongue-in-cheek captions will likely go over the heads of most kids. Have you ever dreamed of playing golf on a split papaya, mowing an orange peel,  bathing in blue Jell-O? Feast your eyes!

“With market prices skyrocketing, strawberry seeds were disappearing into the hands of poachers” (© 2013 C. Boffoli)
“A chance taken on a new path led them to swear off pineapple riding forever”
“Everyone just wanted to relax. But after Deborah got a few beers in her, she just wouldn’t stop talking”
“An elite squad was not always successful against superior numbers”


♥ Find out more about Seattle-based photographer Christopher Boffoli at his official website (and check out that giant pumpkin pie).


Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.