Yes, it is almost that time of year when you wake up to what you believe to be an ordinary Tuesday – only to find small people suddenly demanding eggs, flour (I’m sure there was some in the cupboard last time I looked) and milk (who drank all the milk)!
This year Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day is on Tuesday 25th February 2020. Whether you are getting ready to give something up for Lent, or you are having pancakes just because, it is time to find a copy of Mr Wolf’s Pancakes by Jan Fearnley. It’s essential reading in our house on Pancake Day. Our cupboards are stocked ready to make Easy Mr Wolf’s Pancakes, so I am hopeful I won’t suffer the Shrove Tuesday panic rush to the shops. Who am I kidding? It’s all part of the tradition!
Mr Wolf’s Pancakes by Jan Fearnley stars the very hungry Mr Wolf. He fancies some pancakes but he has never made pancakes before. He looks in his recipe books but he can’t read very well, so he asks his neighbours for help. Wolves get a bad press where fairy tales are concerned but Jan Fearnley cleverly wins us over so that we are rooting for Mr Wolf by the time Chicken Licken slams the door in his face.
Poor Mr Wolf. He sits down on his own and reads his book slowly and carefully to work out which ingredients he needs.
Surprise, surprise, Mr Wolf doesn’t have any of the ingredients. Mr Wolf can’t write very well so he asks Wee Willy Winky for help, only to have the door slammed on his pointy wolf nose.
Mr Wolf sits down and tries very hard to write his shopping list. He asks the Gingerbread Man to help him make sure he has enough money but the grumpy Gingerbread Man is no help. Little Red Riding Hood isn’t in the mood to help Mr Wolf either.
Despite his unhelpful neighbours Mr Wolf makes it to Old Mother Hubbard’s General Store and he buys everything he needs for his pancakes.
When he gets home he realises he isn’t very good at cooking, so he asks the Three Little Pigs for help. Their rude remarks make Mr Wolf so sad that he even sheds a tear.
Mr Wolf shuffles home and gets started on his pancakes, all alone. The delicious aroma coming from Mr Wolf’s kitchen is hard to resist and soon the greedy neighbours come knocking on Mr Wolf’s door. They are so eager to come in that Mr Wolf can hardly refuse.
Once they are all inside… well, there is a delicious ending.
The story is fantastic for young children. It is a tale full of repetition, familiar characters, detailed illustrations and Mr Wolf is easy for young children to relate to (he finds writing, reading and counting a bit tricky and he also loves pancakes). The whole act of shopping, cooking and eating is easily identifiable too. Children can recreate the story by writing a shopping list, adding to find out how much money they will need at the shops, remembering ingredients and then they can help in the kitchen cooking and eating the pancakes!
If you are looking for something new to read then Mr Wolf’s Pancakes comes highly recommended.
Enjoy eating your pancakes, whether they are scraped off the ceiling, or the floor, or both shhhh!