Monday, February 7, 2011

Grit and Guile

Last week I organized our elementary school's Book Rodeo (book swap) and it was so fun. With my friend Joy (who also regularly maxs out her library account) I sorted more than 2,000 books. We got about 1,600 books out to kids/families/teachers, and there are 700 left in the teachers' lounge for them to choose from, and the remainder will be donated to charity.

Out of this mountain of children's books, I've found many gems, including Anne Isaac's Pancakes for Supper! which is a fabulous version of the classic Little Black Sambo.

Of course, in this version, little Toby is the heroine, riding with her parents in their wagon across wild New England to move to a new town.

She outfoxes several wild animals that wish her harm, and in the end has pancakes for supper, just like Sambo in the original. But, Toby enjoys real maple syrup straight from the tree, around the campfire, which is even more fun.

And, the gorgeous illustrations by Mark Teague make this beautiful story come alive on the pages. There is even a recipe for pancakes on the back cover (and instructions on decorating them into "pancake animals" with fruit pieces).

This has trumped my previous favorite re-telling of the story, by Helen Bannerman (The Story of Little Black Sambo) which is set in India. Isaacs' tale features a fabulously tough little gal, with whom my kiddos (and I) instantly fell in love.

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