Friday, January 25, 2019

Review - Pancakes for Dinner!

Pancakes for Dinner!
by Phillip D. Cortez
Date: 2017
Publisher: Waldorf Publishing
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

"Pancakes For Dinner!" is a delicious experience for readers of all ages, served up fresh to satisfy any literary appetite. Two little girls convince their father that even though the sun has gone down, dinnertime can still feature the goodness of a buttery stack of awesomeness.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Here's another rather awful picture book from our local library's weird e-book collection. I don't know who's doing the buying, or if they're getting books that people have requested. There's an awful lot of obscure indie crap, in any case. This book falls right into that category.

I have no problem with the premise of having pancakes for dinner. But the way this book goes about it is silly, especially viewed in light of the synopsis (the girls don't convince their father of anything; he's there, almost from the first page, grinning like an idiot and making pancakes with one hand while giving a thumbs-up with the other). I also wasn't convinced that these were actually two little girls; they look pretty old on certain pages, and then there's a mention of nieces (probably because Cortez needed a word to rhyme with "pieces"), so I wondered if the one with the almost greyish hair and wrinkles under her eyes was actually the other girl's mother.

If you're going to have pancakes for dinner (or at any time, really), you probably shouldn't be topping them with marshmallows, jelly, or chocolate chips. Nor should you be guzzling down syrup "to quench your thirst". (Did Cortez forget that this is a children's book? How many parents are going to appreciate that message?)

The writing is pretty abysmal. Capitalization is all over the place. And the rhymes... oh, my god. Don't even get me started. The meter is completely inconsistent. Some of the rhymes are pretty forced and make the story veer off into the absurd (the author needed a word to rhyme with "shapes"... so we get introduced to "a family of apes" who are, for some reason, just hanging out in the backyard). Also, I'm sorry, but no matter how hard you try or how much you repeat it, "wobble" will never rhyme with "waffles".

I don't like the illustrations much, either. They're flat and boring, look like they were whipped up on a computer (in the 1990s), and don't seem to portray children at all. There's one picture where four girls are sitting around having a pancake party, and three of them look like middle-aged soccer moms. (I don't know why the illustrator kept drawing these children with wrinkles under their eyes, but it made them look really old.)

I should've known when I checked Goodreads and saw the ridiculously high rating. No book--even the most well-loved classic--is universally appreciated by everyone. If the rating seems too good to be true, it probably is... and reading this book just reinforced that for me. I would not recommend this one at all.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: 1/5
Writing: 1/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 0/5

Overall: 1.14 out of 5

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