About the Holiday
It’s hard to love waffles without giving some credit to the machine that makes them possible! Today we do just that by remembering the long and varied history of the waffle iron. Dating back to the Middle Ages in the area of Belgium and the Netherlands, the waffle iron began as two hinged plates set on a long pole to be used over a fire. The devices were improved during the 17th and 18th centuries. The first modern electric waffle iron was developed by General Electric and introduced to the public in 1918. The waffle iron has also inspired innovations such as the waffle ice-cream cone and Nike’s 1972 “Moon Shoe” and 1974 “Waffle Trainer.” Today—you know what to do!
Woodpecker Wants a Waffle
By Steve Breen
One morning Benny the woodpecker wakes to a most “tummy-rumbling smell” so he follows the yummy aroma to Moe’s Diner. Through the window Benny takes in the delicious scene and decides that he too must have waffles. He taps on the door, but it must be a “no woodpeckers” kind of place because the waitress gives him an unceremonious boot. He tries to sneak in, but the waitress is ready for him with her broom. He even tries wearing different disguises to gain entry, but that only gets him tossed out like trash.
Back in the woods the animals laugh when they hear Benny is wishing for waffles, and one by one they offer an alliterative feast of reasons why Benny’s desire is so ridiculous. “Raccoons don’t eat ravioli,” Raccoon yells from the back of the crowd. “Turtles don’t eat turnovers,” Turtle explains. “Chipmunks don’t eat cheeseburgers,” Chipmunk adds to the chorus. “And woodpeckers don’t eat waffles!” Bunny exclaims.
“‘Well, why not?’” Benny counters. The animals are stumped! They ponder and ruminate, ruminate and ponder until finally Bunny says, “‘Because I said so!’” Benny feels he’s just wasting time listening to all this nonsense—time that can be better used devising a new plan to get waffles. In no time he’s back with a sure-fire scheme that involves being shot from a canon, the moon walk, a comedy act, and fireworks along with a few other entertaining bits.
As the speechless animals turn away Benny hears snickering, but he sprightly invites them back the next morning to watch his spectacle. In the morning the animals gather in a field across from the diner, but where’s Benny? The animals wait patiently, while inside the diner the waitress and customers notice something too. They all go outside to look at the animals. And while the animals are staring at the people and the people are staring at the animals, Benny makes his move through that forbidden door. “‘Sweet’” says Benny.
Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Steve Breen’s tale of Benny, the unconventional woodpecker, follows in the best traditions of comic storytelling. Breen’s pacing from Benny’s first glimpse of his obsession to the development of his clever ruse to his ultimately outwitting his opponent will keep kids rooting for him from page to page. Benny’s confidence in the face of the friendly needling of the forest animals adds a deeper sense of satisfaction in the story’s conclusion for both Benny and readers.
Benny’s high, spiky featherdo will endear him to kids as will his treatment at the hands and feet of the waitress. Breen’s softly colored illustrations are full of comical details—as when Benny tries to sneak into Moe’s diner by blending in with a customer’s dress pattern. Kids will also love the contraption-style setup of Benny’s master plan that spans two pages with arrows to point out the trajectory.
Woodpecker Wants a Waffle is a wonderful choice for fun, funny story times and, like the best jokes, will want to be heard again and again.
Ages 4 – 8
HarperCollins, 2016 |ISBN 978-0062342577
Waffle Iron Day Activity
Waffle Tic Tac Toe
The grid of a waffle makes a perfect tic tac toe board! With this special breakfast-inspired tic tac toe set you can cook up some sweet fun! With all the choices of squares in a waffle to fill, you can play 3-by-3, 4-by-4, 5-by-5, even 6-by-6 games!
- Printable Waffle Tic Tac Toe Board
- Printable Butter and Syrup Tokens
- Poster board or stiff paper
- Play 3-by-3 games as you always do
- For the other options each player tries to build rows of 4 pieces down, across, and diagonally
- The player with the most 4-in-a-row rows wins!
Picture Book Review