March 31 – Eiffel Tower Day

A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino Picture Book Review

About the Holiday

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognized monuments in the world. Its iconic shape was designed by Gustav Eiffel, for whom the tower is named. It was built for the International Exhibition of Paris and opened on March 31, 1889 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.

The Eiffel Tower stands 984 feet high and was at the time of its opening the world’s tallest building, an honor it held until the Chrysler Building was erected in New York in 1930. When the International Exhibition’s 20-year lease on the land expired, the Eiffel Tower was almost taken down, until people realized it could be used as a radio antennae.

Of course, all these facts don’t convey the magic of the tower itself. To celebrate this auspicious date, visit the Eiffel tower if you live close or take a vicarious walk in the fabled city of Paris with today’s book. You can also make and enjoy the French Butter cookie recipe found below.

A Walk in Paris

By Salvatore Rubbino


A girl and her grandpa visiting the city of Paris emerge from the metro at Place Maubert just in time to join the throng of shoppers perusing the colorful food stalls on Market Day and to buy some famous French cheese. They continue on their tour through old streets and new boulevards, avoiding the gushing water for the street cleaners, until they reach the fountain at Place Saint-Michel. Their meanderings take them to the River Seine and Notre-Dame. After a long wait in line, they climb to the Chimera Gallery, 151 feet above the ground. From there they look out on the city, all the way to the Eiffel Tower.

On the ground once more they pass salons and boutiques and settle into a cozy bistro for lunch. They visit the Marais, a fashionable area of shops and cafes built on what was once marshland. Up next is a structure that seems to have been built inside-out since all its pipes and escalators are on the outside! This is Pompidou Center, a famous gallery of modern art. The little girl proclaims it formidable!, which means “wonderful!”

Time for a snack! The grandpa-granddaughter duo find themselves in front of a pâtisserie window full of delectable cakes. It’s so hard to choose! Back on the boulevard, they make their way to the majestic building and glass pyramids of the Louvre Art Museum, where perhaps the world’s most famous painting—the Mona Lisa—hangs. A well-deserved rest comes in Tuileries Gardens, where the grandfather enjoys his favorite view and the girl makes a friend by the fountain pool.

It’s getting late and time to leave, but there is one more site to see. As the sun goes down and the night sky darkens, the grandfather treats his granddaughter to a magnificent event – the bright, twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower!

Through A Walk in Paris Salvatore Rubbino has created a beautiful armchair tour of one of the world’s great cities. The large format of this picture book allows for broad views of the landmarks and vistas, giving children a good idea of the vastness of the city. Each page is dotted with trivia and factual information, printed in small type that does not disturb the flow of the illustrations.

The illustrations in muted yet rich tones and with fine details aptly capture the culture and grandeur of the City of Lights. A fold-out page of the luminescent Eiffel Tower is sure to elicit some oohs and ahhs from children.

Ages 4 – 9 (the embedded facts and illustrations make this a good book for older children and research projects also)

Candlewick Press, 2014 | ISBN 978-0763669843

Eiffel Tower Day Activity

CPB - Eiffel Tower Cookies

French Butter Cookies – Lemon and Chocolate


Whip up a batch of these delicious cookies to eat while enjoying A Walk in Paris. There’s no better way to spend a day than to take a trip for a new place—even if you do it in the coziness of your own room!

Ingredients for Lemon Cookies

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (or to taste)

For Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water

For Chocolate Cookies

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger


  1. In a bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until blended
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and beat just until incorporated. Do not over mix the dough. **For Chocolate Cookies use 1 ½ cups flour and add cocoa powder, cinnamon, and ground ginger before mixing**
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough a few times to bring it together, and then divide the dough in half.
  5. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or until firm
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven.
  7. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  8. Remove one portion of the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough until it is 1/4 inch (1 cm) thick.
  9. Using a lightly floured 2 inch (5 cm) round, fluted cookie cutter (or other cookie cutter of your choice), cut out the cookies and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  10. Put the baking sheet of cut out cookies in the refrigerator for about 15 -20 minutes to chill the dough.
  11. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the egg with the water for the egg wash. Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and brush the tops with the egg wash.
  12. Then, with the tines of a fork or a toothpick, make a crisscross pattern on the top of each cookie.
  13. Bake cookies for about 12-14 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
  14. Cool cookies on wire rack.

March 30 – National Pencil Day

The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman Picture Book Review

About the Holiday

Writers and artists, this day is for you! On this date in 1858 Hymen Lipman received a patent for the very first graphite pencil with an eraser attached. Lipman must have been an optimist because the pencil he created was ¾ graphite and ¼ India rubber eraser. The user would sharpen both ends to expose the material. There are conflicting reports on why most pencils sport that familiar yellow hue, but both agree that the color was associated with grandeur. One fascinating fact about this most noble instrument is that a single one can pen pencil 45,000 words or draw a line 35 miles long!

So sharpen those pencils—whatever color they are—and spend this day creating something wonderful!

The Pencil

Written by Allan Ahlberg | Illustrated by Bruce Ingman


Even before the title page readers learn of a little pencil, alone in the world. One day the pencil quivers and begins to draw. The pencil draws a boy, who asks for a name, and receives “Banjo” in reply. The boy wants a dog, and the pencil obliges. Bruce is the dog’s name, and he wants a cat. Mildred is immediately created, and of course Bruce chases Mildred. Banjo chases Bruce. They need a place to run, so the pencil draws a house, a town, and a park.

All this excitement makes the trio hungry and tired. Banjo demands the pencil draw him an apple, Bruce wants a bone, and Mildred really wants a mouse but settles for cat food. There’s just one problem—the food is so unappetizing in black and white. The pencil thinks for a bit and comes up with a solution. He draws a paintbrush named Kitty. Kitty colors the food, the boy, the dog, the house, the town, and the park. Mildred is left as created – she’s a black-and-white cat anyway.

The team of Pencil and Paintbrush create a family, a friend for Bruce, a ball (Sebastian) for Banjo, and a kitten for Mildred. But all these extra characters cause trouble. Sebastian breaks a window, and the mom, dad, sister, and grandpa aren’t completely satisfied with their traits. What’s a pencil to do? Draw an Eraser, of course!

The eraser takes care of the problems, but grows fond of his power to rub things out. He erases the table, chair, front door—the whole house. And that’s not all! Nothing the Pencil and Paintbrush have created is safe. Eraser rubs everything out until all that’s left is the pencil and the eraser locked in opposition.

The pencil draws a wall, a cage, a river and mountains with fierce animals but none of it is a match for the eraser. Then the pencil has a brainstorm and draws…another eraser! The two erasers engage in an epic battle, and in the end they rub each other out.

The Pencil recreates everything he had before, and Kitty colors it all in, including a new picnic with a runaway boiled egg named Billy and 10 A-named ants to clean up the crumbs. As the day fades into night, a moon appears in the sky along with a cozy box for Pencil and Paintbrush to sleep in.

Allen Ahlberg’s endearing story of a little pencil who creates himself a world full of friends and excitement as well as the inevitable conflict will appeal to kids for whom the imagination looms large and even competes with and enhances reality. On a subtle metaphorical level, as the eraser rubs out everything in its path, kids may see that simply getting rid of problems can sometimes cause more, and that resolution is a better tact.

Bruce Ingman’s illustrations deftly depict the friendship and collaboration between Pencil and Paintbrush. Graphite lines outline the characters and objects that Pencil draws, and the colorful accents from Paintbrush are vivid and joyful.

Ages 4 – 8

Candlewick Press, 2012 | ISBN 978-0763660888

National Pencil Day Activity

CPB - Pencil Maze

Pencil It In! Maze


Line up here to test your skills against this printable Pencil It In! pencil-shaped maze. Solution included. Sharpen your pencil and start having fun!

Picture Book Review

March 29 – Smoke and Mirrors Day

The King and the Magician by Jorge Bucay and Gusti Picture Book Review

About the Holiday

Abracadabra! With a puff of smoke and a few mirrors, I have made this blog post appear out of thin air! Okay, so maybe that’s not quite true, but today is the perfect day to try a little magic. On Smoke and Mirrors Day we celebrate the practitioners of this most mysterious art, who often extend and retract mirrors within a cloud of smoke to accomplish their deceptions. The term is also used generally whenever someone is trying to pull the wool over another person’s eyes. Whether you like sleight of hand, disappearing acts, or the magic of a soothing cup of tea, have fun, make a little mischief, and enjoy the day!

The King and the Magician

Written by Jorge Bucay | Illustrated by Gusti


In a faraway land there once lived a King who was very powerful. Not only does he love power, he commands that everyone in his kingdom obey and admire him. Trembling, his subjects reassure him every day that he is the most powerful man in the kingdom.

One day, however, the King hears a rumor that down in the village lives a Magician who can predict the future. The King fears that this man will become more powerful than he, and he sends his spies to learn more. The spies return and reveal that not only can the Magician tell the future, he is loved and admired by everyone.

The King becomes terribly jealous and plots to do away with his most hated enemy. He devises a plot to trick the Magician. He will host a party, and at the end will ask the Magician if he can truly predict the future. If the Magician says “No,” he will be exposed as a fraud, and the king will kill him. If the Magician answers “Yes,” the King will ask him to predict the date of the Magician’s death and will then kill him. The King is pleased with his scheme because either way, he will be rid of his rival.

On the night of the party, the King summons the Magician and asks him the fatal question. The Magician is more than just a seer or a sorcerer—he is wise. He looks at the King and states, “the Magician of this kingdom will die the exact same day as his King.

Now the King is in a terrible quandary. He does not want to risk the possibility that this old man’s prediction is true. He must now protect the Magician in order to save his own life. He quickly concocts a ruse and asks the Magician to stay the night in the castle, saying he wants to consult with him about some royal matters. In fact, he just wants to keep an eye on him.

The Magician agrees. The next morning the King goes to the Magician and asks his advice on some kingly decisions. The Magician offers good suggestions, and the king accepts them. As the months go by, the King continues to rely on the Magician for guidance, and slowly the King learns to be fair and wise. He becomes the respected and admired ruler he always wanted to be.

The King realizes that not only is the Magician a trusted advisor, he is a loyal and beloved friend. One day, wracked with guilt over his one-time plot to kill the Magician, the King reveals the story. The Magician listens to the King’s secret, and shares one of his own.

He relates that when the king questioned him on the night of the party, he saw the king reach for the hilt of his sword and realized his intentions. He then divulges that he made up the prediction of their shared death date to teach the King a lesson—one the King has learned. He says, “It is our lives that have become entwined, not our deaths.”

For many more years the King and the Magician live as friends and confidants. The kingdom grows stronger and the King kinder and more loved by his people. One day the Magician dies. The King is sad, and realizes he is no longer afraid of his own death. The King has learned the Magician’s lesson well, and even though his advisor is gone, he continues to make wise and beneficial decisions.

Ten years later the King writes a letter to his son and heir. In his letter, the King cautions his son that during his life he may come across someone or something that “will arouse fear and jealousy in your soul” and will want to destroy them or it to alleviate his fear. Instead, says his father, “open  your heart or your home” because “what you thought was your most feared enemy, is really your most powerful friend.”

Jorge Bucay has written a classic tale of wisdom verses power wrapped around a clever psychological trick that initiates the kind of thought which leads to true enlightenment. The straightforward storytelling and the pacing of the plot build suspense, while lyrical descriptions create a beautiful flow that depicts both the quandary of the King and the kindness of the Magician.

Gusti’s lavish illustrations, reminiscent of hieroglyphics and Medieval tapestries, are rendered in dark, rich brown, rust, black, olive and blue hues that gorgeously portray the splendor of the King and his castle, but also signal the somber weight in his soul. The regal tone even extends to the gilded text. The King is drawn as an imposing rounded figure, towering over everyone else in his kingdom, but his feet and hands are tiny, lending him a bit of a comical yet vulnerable air. The King’s eyes narrow with cunning as he plots his evil deed but widen in doubt and despair as the Magician works his special brand of magic.

Ages 4 – 8

Abbeville Kids, 2014 | ISBN 978-0789212047

Smoke and Mirrors Day Activity

CPB - Magic Word Scramble II


Say the Magic Word! Word Scramble


Magic is all about mystery—and so is this scrambled word puzzle! Print the Say the Magic Word! word scramble. Then unscramble each magic-related word and, using the letters in the circles, discover the mystery phrase. Here’s the Solution!

March 28 – Music in Our Schools Day

Music Class Today by David Weinstone and Vin Vogel

About the Holiday

The National Association for Music Education sponsors Music in Our Schools Month each March to promote greater awareness of the benefits and enjoyment high-quality music education brings to students and the community. Beginning in 1973 as a single Advocacy Day in New York, this celebration grew to include the entire month in 1985.

During the month special music programs, education, concerts, and classes take place to get kids and adults excited about the joys of music in schools.

Music Class Today

Written by David Weinstone | Illustrated by Vin Vogel


A little boy and his froggy toy join a music class full of other boys and girls led by a guitar-strumming teacher. The class starts with a song welcoming everyone by name and a verse inviting all to shake their musical eggs high and shake the eggs low. “One rolls away—where did it go?”

The new boy peeks around his mom’s back to watch the action, and when it’s time for a song he says, “I think I’ll just watch…But I’m listening!” The teacher gently sings, “That’s all right, that’s okay. / Whenever you’re ready, / come on over and play. / That’s all right, there’s no rush. / Whenever you’re ready, / come play with us!” These verses become a chorus repeated throughout the book, reassuring the little boy that he’s welcome, but that his own speed of acclimation is okay too.

The class continues with the kids kicking up their feet, drumming, and moving around the room in time with the music. The little boy comes out from behind his mom to sit on her lap and watches the fun. The teacher’s chorus brings the boy a little closer—to the edge of his mom’s feet—while clinging tightly to his froggy. He giggles as the kids swirl with scarves, getting dizzy, and falling down.

Now everyone’s dancing, being silly, and having a ball. Froggy joins in, dangling and wiggling at the ends of the boy’s hands. As dancing evolves into free-play time, the little boy accepts the teacher’s invitation to “come join the fun,” and leaves froggy at his mom’s feet with one more request for assurance—“Wait here till I’m done!”

“Good for you, that’s the way. / Everybody’s in the band!” the teacher sings as the little boy takes up the cymbals and leads the parade behind him. All too soon it’s clean-up time and class ends with a good-bye song. The boy is having so much fun that he tells the teacher he and froggy want to stay. The instructor knows just what to say to his happy, excited student: “That’s all right, that’s okay. / We’ll see you soon another day!”

In this cross-genre picture book, David Weinstone brings the musicality and movement of a toddler and preschool music class to the page. His song, also available as a free download, serves as the text of the story about a reluctant joiner who overcomes his apprehension to become a member of the group. The repeated chorus, that calmly and sincerely explains that it is okay for children to wait and watch until they feel comfortable, can be used for many situations and is a welcome message.

Vin Vogel’s sweet illustrations of a wide mix of kids kicking up their heels (literally, as a flying shoe bonks the instructor on the head in one giggle-inducing scene) and having fun are inspired in their focus on the children. The kids play instruments, dance, and cavort across the pages, filling the white space with joy. The view of the classroom changes from page to page to show other mother-child pairs, which helps emphasize that hesitant children are common, as well as baby siblings, toys, instruments, storage bins, and other sights familiar to children.

Ages 1 – 4

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015 | ISBN 978-0374351311

Music in Our Schools Day Activity

CPB - Music in Schools Day game

It’s Instrumental! Game


Play this fun game to gather all the instruments you need to create a music group. The first person to collect all 6 instrument cards is the winner!



  1. Print the Paper Cube Template, cut it out and assemble the cube die.
  2. Print the Musical Instruments cards, cut out cards, and separate the instruments into piles
  3. Players take turns rolling the die cube to collect musical instrument cards
  4. The first player to collect all 6 instrument cards is the winner




March 27 – Easter

When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek Picture Book Review

About the Holiday

On this day we celebrate renewal—both personal and seasonal. Spring is officially here and new life is beginning. All around trees are budding, flowers are blooming, and baby animals and birds are being born and learning to make their way in the world. As the sun rises on warmer days, be inspired to discover new happiness.

When Spring Comes

Written by Kevin Henkes | Illustrated by Laura Dronzek


This beautiful tribute to spring is as surprising as new buds pushing through the earth or tiny hatching eggs. Using repeated phrasing, lyrically expressed facts, and poetic rhythms, When Spring Comes echoes the anticipation that sunnier days bring after a long winter. The book opens with a simple, evocative sentence: “Before Spring comes the trees look like black sticks against the sky.” Children will immediately agree—they see trees in this way out their windows and draw them like this in art class.

The following sentence is equally as true: “But if you wait Spring will bring leaves and blossoms.” The book’s contrasting lines that explore conditions “before Spring comes” and “If you wait” gradually reveal more and more of springtime’s wonder, like the melting snows that usher in rainy days: “Spring comes with sun and it comes with rain and more rain and more rain. Do you like mud? Do you like puddles? I hope you like umbrellas.”

As Spring wakes more fully, it takes on a personality of its own: “Spring will call out the pussy willows and new kittens too. Spring can come quickly or slowly. It changes its mind a lot. But when Spring is finally here to stay, you will know it…There will be buds and bees and boots and bubbles.”  And there is much more to discover about this season of rebirth as well as the future within these pages.

When Spring visits it brings many wonderful smells, sounds, activities, and creatures, all of which are gorgeously depicted in Laura Dronzek’s radiant illustrations. The early gardens, blooming cherry trees, frolicking kittens, and profusions of flowers are as bright and welcome as the springtime sun. As the sweet-faced boy and girl in the book play, they are surrounded by birds, bunnies, dogs and kittens, and even ponder a little worm poking its head from the garden. Brilliant blues, pinks, greens meld with lush browns to create a joyful celebration of the newness of the season.

When Spring Comes is not only a book about a particular season or even for a particular age. It is a wonderfully gentile and uplifting way to introduce or discuss the idea of waiting for good things to happen. Everyone, even the smallest child, has “winter days” when life doesn’t look so bright. But if you wait, spring comes with new life and surprises.

Ages 4 – 8

Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins, 2016 | ISBN 978-0062331397

Easter Activity

CPB - Paper Flowers

Paper Flowers


These paper flowers will brighten any room and come in a rainbow of colors. Make a bouquet for yourself or share them with a special friend.


  • Tissue paper in many colors
  • Green paper
  • Green wire for stems
  • Scissors
  • Tape or glue
  • Pliers

CPB - Paper Flowers II


To make the stem

  1. Bend a 1 ½ -inch loop in the top of the wire
  2. Squeeze the wire together so it will fit tightly over the tissue paper

To make a flower

  1. Cut 6 or more 7-inch squares from tissue paper, mixing colors (you can make various sizes of flowers by making the squares larger or smaller and adding more squares)
  2. Gather all the squares together and fold them together accordion-style in 1-inch folds
  3. Slide the folded tissue paper under the wire loop, and tighten the wire
  4. Gently fan the tissue paper out on each side
  5. Beginning on one side, gently pull each sheet of tissue paper up toward the center
  6. Repeat step 5 on the other side

To make leaves

  1. Cut leaves from green paper, leaving a stem to wrap around the wire flower stem
  2. Fold the leaf stem around the wire and tape or glue


March 26 – Noodle Day

Noodle Magic by Roseanne Greenfield Thong and Meilo So Picture Book Review

About the Holiday

Noodle on this: what’s the difference between noodles and most other dry pastas? Noodles contain eggs! It’s just this kind of fascinating fact you can learn during noodle month. Whether you like spinning the long strands around your fork or slurping them right from the bowl, noodles make the perfect comfort food whether they’re mixed with sauce, pesto, or meat and veggies. People make some pretty awesome crafts from them too! Did you know that 13th century bakers made their dough into birds, stars, words, and other shapes? Too bad Pinterest wasn’t around then! So boil up some water and get cookin’ on a delicious day!

Noodle Magic

Written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong | Illustrated by Meilo So


The emperor’s birthday is coming, and everywhere excitement fills the air. Mei’s Grandpa Tu will no doubt be making his famous noodles for the celebration. Mei loves to watch her grandfather work, slapping and kneading the dough and pulling the strands of noodles. He is so creative with his cooking that everyone marvels, even the Moon Goddess. In fact, Grandpa Tu is such an extraordinary artist that he makes noodle jump ropes and kite strings for Mei and her friends. They are as “simple as a sunflower” and as “easy as a sea breeze” to make, says Grandpa Tu.


Image copyright Meilo So, text copyright Roseanne Thong. Courtesy of

But Mei thinks there is more to his talent and wishes that she had his magic. Her grandfather believes she does possess it. One afternoon the pair watch animal-shaped clouds fill the sky, and Mei asks if her grandpa can catch them with noodles. That night he makes a batch of noodles, and in the morning the two collect clouds as the sun appears.

On the day before the emperor’s birthday, everyone is busy making something special—everyone except Grandpa Tu. The villagers are perplexed. On such an important day, they will all want to enjoy noodles—and what about the special long-life noodles for the emperor? It is time, Grandpa Tu tells Mei, for her to make the noodles.

Mei is surprised and terrified. She slaps and kneads the dough as she has seen her grandfather do, but it remains ordinary. Where is the magic? “‘Trust in yourself,’” Grandpa Tu tells her, but Mei is doubtful. She decides that perhaps if she gives the Moon Goddess a gift, she will get magic in return. “‘You have all the magic you need,’” her grandfather assures her. Still, he helps Mei make enough dough to form an enormous ball of noodles.


Image copyright Meilo So, text copyright Roseanne Thong. Courtesy of

Mei throws the ball to the Moon Goddess and calls out for the Goddess to give her magic. Wisely, the Goddess reminds Mei that magic must come from inside. Mei closes her eyes and thinks very hard. She tussles with the Moon Goddess in a noodle tug-of-war, and suddenly…Snap!…the noodles break. The sky rains noodles of all shapes and sizes, Mei has discovered the magic that was in her all along!

With the charm of a Chinese folktale, Roseanne Greenfield Thong tells the universal tale of self-discovery. Her lyrical language adds a magic of its own to the tale, as when Mei watches her grandfather make dough: “she loved the powdery flakes that hung in the air and freckled the morning light.” The relationship between the little girl and her grandfather is lovingly portrayed, offering a gentle depiction of the wisdom and reassurance provided by extended family members.

Meilo So brings the story to vibrant life with her colorful paintings of village life, Mei and Grandpa Tu’s home, and the Moon Goddess. The magic of Grandpa Tu’s noodles is cleverly shown in the transparent animals, dragons, and birds outlined in noodles that frolic across the pages. The two-page spreads of Mei’s village are particularly captivating, as packed with interesting scenes and details as any bustling town.

Ages 4 – 8

Orchard Books, 2014 | ISBN 978-0545521673

Noodle Day Activity

CPB - Noodle Puzzle

Noodle on This Puzzle


Everyone has their favorite kind of noodles! Help these noodles get to the right plate, bowl, or pot in this printable Noodle on This puzzle that’s as wiggly as a wet noodle!

Picture Book Review

March 25 – International Waffle Day

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast by Josh Funk and Brendan Kearney Picture Book Review

About the Holiday

When someone made a spelling error, turning the Swedish holiday “Our Lady’s Day” (Vårfrudagen) into Waffle Day (Våffeldagen), a brand new culinary celebration began! Waffle Day also ushers in spring and offers the perfect excuse to enjoy these crispy concoctions whether you like them sweet, with syrup or confectioner’s sugar, or savory, as a base for meat and other toppings. So mix up some batter and pull out your favorite waffle maker and enjoy a delicious day!

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast

Written by Josh Funk | Illustrated by Brendan Kearney


You know those strange noises you sometimes hear coming from your refrigerator? And how you could have sworn the leftovers were on the top shelf? Well, Josh Funk’s Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast may solve those mysteries and more in this rambunctious tale about what happens when relationships grow frosty.

One day Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast are hanging out at the back of the fridge when they learn the syrup is almost gone. Lady Pancake claims it as her own, but Sir French Toast replies, “Not if I get there first!” And so off they race! “Through Broccoli Forest, past Orange Juice Fountain, they climbed to the top of Potato Mash Mountain.” But the race takes a turn as the two meet obstacles that are no fun at all: at the edge of a shelf “Toast couldn’t quite stop, plummeting down into jam with a plop.” And “Chili Lagoon slathered Pancake in muck and then at a fork in the road she got stuck.”


The one-time friends call each other names and taunt each other with boasts of being the best breakfast food. As their competition upends the peace of the whole refrigerator from shelf to shelf, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast find their energy wilting, and by the time they reach that sweet sought-after prize, they are “battered and soggy, exhausted and crumbling, too tired to push, they were limping and stumbling.”

With the bottle in sight, they are shocked to discover that the last drop of syrup is already gone. Who could have done this dastardly deed? None other than the sneaky Baron Von Waffle! With nothing to gain, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast no longer have a reason to fight. In fact they realize that they lost out on the syrup because they were fighting. When they see that there is a little butter left, they decide to use the lesson they learned and share it.


There are so many fantastic rhymes in this book that kids will want to hear again and again. One of my favorites comes as Sir French Toast catches up to Lady Pancake: “He scraped himself off and yelled up, / ‘You’re a meanie!’ / as Pancake rappelled / down a rope of linguini.” With such laugh-inducing verses, kids may never look at food the same way again. Josh Funk has created a tale about friendship that is both boisterous and unique and sure to quickly become a favorite.

The refrigerator world as envisioned by Brendan Kearney is as colorful as the food rainbow and as active as a playground in summer. It’s also stacked with the cutest array of legumes, yogurt, cake, juices, fruit, and veggies you’ll find anywhere. The final fold-down page of the entire refrigerator is a delight that kids of all ages will want to linger over even after the story of The Great Race between Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast is over.

Ages 5 and up

Sterling Children’s Books, 2015 | ISBN 978-1454914044

Visit Josh Funk’s Website to download a free Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast Activity Kit and to learn about more upcoming titles!

Discover more art and books by Brendan Kearney on his website!

Watch the trailer for this amazing race – you’ll be singing the Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast theme song in no time!

International Waffle Day Activity 



Sweet as Syrup Figure


Fun shouldn’t be kept bottled up! Well…maybe just this once. Make your own figure to display or play with from a syrup bottle with this craft. It’s sure to be as sweet as you are!


  • Small plastic syrup bottle with a narrow squeeze fliptop and without a handle, empty
  • 1 ½-inch wooden ball with ½-inch hole in bottom
  • 16-inch to 18-inch square piece of cloth
  • Ribbon or strip of material
  • 12 to 14-inch long medium-gauge craft wire
  • Gel pens, black, blue, brown, red (Gel pens work well on the wood as the ink doesn’t bleed into the wood and are easy to control)
  • Poly fill or needle-felting wool
  • Scissors
  • Strong glue

CPB - Syrup Bottle Figure II


To prepare the bottle

  1. Remove labels from syrup bottle
  2. Cut the flip top in half, keeping the narrow nozzle part

To make the head

  1. Holding the wooden ball with the hole at the bottom, draw a face on the wooden ball with the gel pens
  2. Glue a small handful of poly fill or needle-felting wool to the top of the wooden ball for hair. You can make the hair has long, short, or poofy as you wish.

To make the dress

  1. Cut a 16-inch diameter circle from the material

To assemble the figure

  1. To make the arms, wrap the wire around the neck of the syrup bottle, crossing it in the back and pulling tight
  2. Center the material over the opening of the syrup bottle
  3. Cut tiny slits in the material at the location of the wire on each side of the bottle, and pull the arms through the material
  4. Bend the ends of the wire into a small loop to form hands
  5. Screw the cap with the narrow nozzle over the material
  6. Tie the ribbon or strip of material around the narrow part of the bottle to make the figure’s waist
  7. Place the hole in the wooden ball over the nozzle in the cap and glue into place

Make up your own story with your new figure!