cover image HEY, PANCAKES!


Tamson Weston, , illus. by Stephen Gammell. . Harcourt/Silver Whistle, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-216502-4

While their parents sleep soundly in the next room, two brothers start their morning this way: "Rrrrrrriiiiinnnnnggggg... whack !/ Shhhhh, alarm clock./ No shoe, holey sweater,/ where's that other sock?/ Why get up,/ for goodness' sake?/ Wait... that smell.../ could it be...? Pancakes!" Gammell (Is That You, Winter?) depicts the boys' discovery of the source: their big sister teeters on a rickety stool, pouring batter into a pan, much of it whirling through the air like a fireworks display. The pug-nose, large-eared, stringy-haired children engage in a wild, yet beautifully orchestrated, pancake dance ("A pancake flip,/ a pancake flop,/ pancake bottom/ over pancake top"). One scene shows the baby brother pouring blueberries into the bowl, his sister swinging the pan overhead sending pancakes flying and the other brother balancing a pitcher of orange juice atop a stack of plates and glasses. Gammell's exuberant, paint-splattered artwork creates a sense of topsy-turvy movement. The ringing alarm clock leaps off the table, drawers and doors fly open, furniture and shelves tilt precariously. As the tempo quickens, so does the energy and magic, culminating when a pancake cow, moon and star spring from the pan. The sight of hotcakes, syrup, honey, jelly and juice absolutely everywhere may start many a parent's heart palpitating but, after the feast, the children happily clean up, sending water and soapsuds flying instead. Poet Weston's picture-book debut is a feast for the ears and eyes (and includes a pancake recipe for the taste buds as well). Ages 3-7. (Aug.)