- Age Range: 3 and up
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Dial; 1st edition (February 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0803714467
- ISBN-13: 978-0803714465
- Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 0.4 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,802,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Perfect Pancakes If You Please Hardcover – February 1, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3. An original folktale that's an interesting mix of the old and the new. Old is the plot device of the king promising his daughter to the man who can accomplish a particular task (in this case, the one who can make a stack of perfect pancakes); and new is how some of the characters react to this situation, especially the princess herself, who has her own ideas about who she'll marry. There's also a handsome young scientist, Roderick, and a great villain, "Maximilian, the Evil Inventor," with a "long white beard, mean yellowish eyes, and a nose that twitched with mischief." By combining elements from "The Magic Porridge Pot" with "Rumpelstiltskin," Wise has created a lively and absorbing story. The straightforward text makes a great foil for Egielski's humorous watercolors. The pictures mix medieval elements with touches of the Orient. King Felix himself resembles a very large and very self-absorbed sultan. In fact, characterizations, especially facial expressions, are where Egielski excels. If there can be such a thing as understated exaggeration, he's done it perfectly. His sly comic tone is priceless. Words and pictures combine to make this a great read-aloud or read-alone.?Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
I encourage you to read the plot summary from Publishers Weekly, which is also available on the book's main page. I won't repeat that description other than to say the story borrows so heavily from classic stories that it should be dedicated to The Brothers Grimm. This pancake recipe is a sour mishmash of Rumpelstiltskin,Rapunzel and Cinderella. Despite the classic inspirations, author William Wise failed to include a single likable character in his story, leaving me with the impression that he holds fairy tales in contempt.
Richard Egielski's illustrations reminded my sons of another bedtime book -- In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak - one we not only enjoyed more but enthusiastically recommend for young children. To be fair, Egielski has a knack for drawing a plate of scrumptious pancakes but on most pages he's left to illustrate the king's court just standing around or the feature food as nothing more than stacks of dirty coins.
In summary, young children (especially pancake fans) will be disappointed by the story's lack of magic and likable characters. However, the book did provide my sons a clear example of the lesson: "You can't always tell a book by its cover."