Becky’s Barefoot Books: Mama Panya’s Pancakes Book Review

MAMA PANYA’s PANCAKES; A Village Tale from Kenya

Mama Panya's Pancakes

Author: Mary Chamberlin and Rich Chamberlin

Illustrator: Julia Cairns

Once again, the color, brightness and multicultural aspect of this book lured me and my 8 year old in. On market day, Mama Panya’s son Adika invites everyone he sees to a pancake dinner. How will Mama Panya ever feed them all? This clever and heartwarming story about Kenyan village life teaches the importance of sharing, even when you have little to give.

Barefoot Books

There is a timeless quality to this contemporary story about a Kenyan boy and his mother stretching their food to feed all their friends. As he walks to market with his mom, Adika invites everyone he sees to a pancake dinner, but Mama Panya is worried. She needn’t be, because all the guests come bearing food. To accompany the few pancakes, there is milk and butter from the Maasai children’s cattle, fish caught by the old man, Mzee Odolo, flour for another day, and salt and cardamom. Rafiki Kaya even brings her mbira, her thumb piano.

The old tradition of sharing all one’s food with others works again. With the repetition of the phrase “a little bit and a little bit more,” the folkloric feeling intensifies. The watercolor paintings are filled with details of the countryside and the marketplace, although the naïve portrayal of the adults and children tends to be a bit broad. With a recipe for spicy pancakes, information about local animals and village life in Kenya, some general facts and a map, this story will be a welcome addition to a school unit as well as traditional storytime.-Kirkus review

ages 4-8

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About Becky Flansburg


Becky Flansburg is freelance writer, blogger and virtual assistant living in Northern Minnesota. A dedicated mom to two beautiful kids, her veteran blog Franticmommy.com is filled with laughter and love about the joys parenthood. Becky is also committed to helping women realize their work-from-home dreams, enjoy life beyond the cubicle and find clarity in the work/life/family balance. Connect with Becky via her website, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

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3 Responses to Becky’s Barefoot Books: Mama Panya’s Pancakes Book Review

  1. Shecki @ Greatly Blessed March 26, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

    I love how multicultural Barefoot Books are. 🙂 My youngest 3 kids are from China, and we enjoyed reading Little Leap Forward from BB.

  2. Kirsty April 23, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    Barefoot books never fail to broaden horizons and open young minds with their beautiful stories and wonderful, colourful illustrations. Thank you for sharing on #kidsbookaweek

  3. Catherine @ Story Snug April 26, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    Love this fabulous story for showing children that kindness reaps kindness.

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