cover image Like Butter on Pancakes

Like Butter on Pancakes

Jonathan London. Viking Children's Books, $13.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-85130-0

Uncluttered, airy spreads and a relaxed rural setting contribute to the charm of this thoroughly cozy book. As a boy awakens to sunlight pouring through an unshaded window, an unseen narrator compares the morning rays to butter melting on hot pancakes. The analogy gets an added boost when the child wanders downstairs to find his parents cooking the golden breakfast food. Although the text pays special attention to morning rituals, it unhurriedly takes the main character through an entire day; one oft-repeated phrase, ``the sun ticks/ the birds talk,'' suggests that the sun keeps time as it moves across the sky. Readers observe the changing light--spread by spread, Karas creates the yellow dawn, clear midday light, dusky late afternoon and deep-orange sunset. By nighttime, the ``puddle of sun'' once on the floor has been replaced by cool gray moonlight, and ``the moon spills milk/ for the cat to drink.'' London and Karas, who previously collaborated on Into This Night We Are Rising, deftly combine free verse and warm-toned illustrations; reading their calm and comforting volume is satisfaction in itself, a good way to celebrate the morning or conclude a busy day. Ages 2-6. (Mar.)