MAMA PANYA’s PANCAKES; A Village Tale from Kenya
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.
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
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