Jack wakes up one morning, hungry for a big pancake. When he makes this request of his mother, she informs him that she is busy and that he will have to help her. Jack is ready and willing, so she proceeds to tell him each ingredient that is required and how to go about acquiring each one. In the end, of course, Jack is rewarded for his hard work with the big pancake he desired.
Positives: This is a wonderful book that shows not only the aspects of the work that is required in making a recipe, but also reaches back to the very foundations of where each ingredient actually comes from. For example, the first ingredient is flour, and Jack does not simply go to the panty for it or even to the store to purchase it. He cuts down wheat from the field, takes it to the miller on a donkey’s back, and has it ground into flour. He also collects an egg from the black hen and milks the spotted cow.
Jack portrays a helpful and obedient son who was very willing to do the work and follow each of his mother’s instructions. Also, the reality that sometimes a mother is just too busy to take on one more task is shown. I appreciated the educational aspect of showing where our food comes from, and not just the grocer’s shelf. In our age of processed food and quick fixes, there’s value in remembering that what we have does have a natural origin and that there was a method involved in making something into what it is when we purchase it, even if it is simply the work required to transport something like a carton of eggs from the chicken farm to the supermarket.
Talking Points: There are many opportunities in this book that is appropriate for a slightly older age group than most of Eric Carle’s well-known books, due to it being a bit longer and involved. When my daughter was five, she really enjoyed it and of course we can all relate to enjoying food! Some godly characteristics that are seen in this book and can likewise be encouraged in our children are responsibility and valuing work (Galatians 6:5, Colossians 3:23), receiving a blessing/reward due to work (Proverbs 12:14) and time invested in something worthwhile, and the wonder of creation as well as God’s provision through it.