Tyler Makes Pancakes!

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Tyler Makes Pancakes! Book Poster Image
Lively cooking story whipped together with fun food info.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Solid information on where various foods come from, and a step-by-step guide to making pancakes -- including the need to use a measuring cup, whisk, spatula, and, with a parent's help, the stove and a frying pan. The complete recipe and more fun food facts follow the story.

Positive Messages

Shows a kid being independent, taking care of business, and doing something for others. The implied message is that if you have a hankering for a kind of food, you can learn how to make it yourself! Also, follow the steps laid out for you, and you'll complete the task successfully. It's nice that when Tyler wakes up after dreaming of pancakes, he doesn't just ask his parents to make them for him but immediately thinks of making pancakes for his them as a thoughtful surprise.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tyler is independent, curious, caring, and careful as he prepares his pancakes for his parents. He's respectful and listens attentively when the kind, patient, and informative grocer, Mr. Jones, explains where all the ingredients on his list come from. Tyler also displays excellent follow-through in getting an idea and then taking all the necessary steps to actually do what he sets out to do, with great enthusiasm. He's also kind to his dog, Tofu.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tyler Makes Pancakes!, by Food Network chef Tyler Florence and illustrator Craig Frazier, does a great job of teaching kids where food comes from -- not just the store, but from the the farm, plains, and forest where things grow and animals are raised. It's lighthearted and fun as well as informative, and it may inspire kids to try cooking something themselves.

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What's the story?

Tyler dreams of pancakes, and when he wakes up, he decides to surprise his mom and dad by going off on his bike with his trusty dog, Tofu, to get the ingredients at Mr. Jones' market. Mr Jones then explains where all the ingredients come from -- eggs from chickens on a farm, buttermilk and butter from cows, blueberries from bushes, flour from wheat that grows \"in flat places like Kanasas,\" and maple syup that comes from trees \"way up in Vermont.\" Mr. Jones also explains how these things are collected or harvested at the source and brought to the grocery store. Back home, Tyler follows the recipe step by step and serves his parents a breakfast feast. The actual recipe and some fun food facts follow on the last pages.

Is it any good?

This book is fun and engaging all the way through, with wonderful stylized art that uses thick blue lines to outline each person, plant, animal, and thing. Tyler is a clothed stick figure with a big round head and winning personality. Other people are more fleshed out. The lessons about where food comes from and how it gets from farm to table are seamlessly woven into the story of a curious boy on a mission to cook one of his favorite meals and give his parents a nice surprise.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about where food comes from. Do you know where meat comes from? How about fish? Pizza? Bananas? Coconuts? Artichokes?

  • What looks fun about cooking?

  • What favorite meal would you like to learn how to cook?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love learning about food

Themes & Topics

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