cover image Perfect Pancakes If You Please

Perfect Pancakes If You Please

William Wise. Dial Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1446-5

Despite the tangy illustrations and the promising pairing of Egielski (Buz; Hey, Al) and Wise (Ten Sly Piranhas), this entry, about ""a greedy king who loved to eat pancakes,"" feels underbaked. King Felix's ardor for pancakes is apparently equaled only by his impossibly high standards: the pancakes are always too dry, too buttery, too syrupy, etc. He offers his daughter in marriage to whoever can make a stack of perfect pancakes. An evil magician does so, but when the princess objects to marrying him, the king reneges on his promise and then finds himself literally up to his eyeballs in pancakes. The plot lurches toward an unimaginative and contrived ending, while none of the characters proves particularly likable or compelling, including the young man ""so handsome and charming, [the princess] fell in love with him on the spot."" Egielski's delightfully wicked and corpulent characters blend a range of fairy tale traditions, from the wimpled queen to the turbaned king to the vaguely Slavic princess. Alas, they're all dressed up but the story leaves them nowhere to go. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)