Friday, August 28, 2015

Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast - a review and teaching ideas

Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast
Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast
Written by Josh Funk
Illustrated by Brendan Kearney
Published by Sterling Children's Books

We got our first tease of this book back in June when the trailer of the book was revealed on Mr. Schu's blog Watch. Connect. Read.  Did you get a chance to watch it?  If not, make sure you view it now...

The next tease I got was when I met Mr. Josh Funk in person at nerdcampMI.  Not only did I get a viewing of the book on his laptop, but he also read it to a small audience of nerdy friends.  How often can you say you heard the author read the book to you, in person?!  We also got previews of his next two books, Dear Dragon (2016) and Pirasaurs! (2017).  Go ahead, add them to your TBR list too!

Note the "water bottle" Mr. Funk is drinking from...

This book is a delight to read out loud.  The rhymes roll off your tongue, they are fun and make you smile.  The idea of food going for a race through your refrigerator is imaginative and fun.  But pair it with the idea of Sauerkraut Peak or Orange Juice Fountain, now you have a whole new world coming to life!

As a reading teacher/coach, I'm always thinking of ways to use books.  I love finding books that I know kids will enjoy reading, but when I can think of ways to use it to teach how to read like a writer or ways to dig in deeper, then that book becomes even more special!  As I read through this book, oh, a few times, I kept finding new ways to use it.  Here are some ideas you can use in your classroom or library when reading Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast!


* This is a book that you will want to read the first time from beginning to end and just have students enjoy it.  Josh does a wonderful job building excitement and students are going to want to get to the end of the "race" to see what happens.  

After you've read it once all the way through, let the students talk about the book!  You'll be surprised that quite often some of the best conversations start with their questions and ideas.  You can always use these ideas to further the discussion.

* Our main characters learn a great lesson about being friends in this story.  Discuss that central message.  How did they figure it out?

* Authors will sometimes throw in a surprise character that changes things.  How did that work in this story?

* Authors often build the action by using suspense.  Track the rising action in this story.  How does it start?  When does it change?

* This is a book that is told in rhyme.  Why does rhyme work for the story?  What makes it unique to be told in that way?

Writing Mentor Text

Josh has an amazing way with words in this text.  Use it to look at

* different ways of saying 'said':  conversed, bragged, demanded, snickered

* verbs:  clutching, plummeting, rappelled, slathered, reemerged, bickered

* figurative language:  fork in a road (although there really in a fork in the illustration...)

Writing Activities

* Carrie Gelson did a great book preview with this book.  Check out her idea here.

* Have some before and after debates.  Hang up a photocopied picture of Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast.  (Or, if you want some sweet swag and you're in the New England area visit one of the bookstores listed below and get some Lady P and Sir F.T. trading cards or pins)  Have students decide what team they are on before reading Sir French Toast or Lady Pancake.  Don't forget to have them give (or write) their reasons.  Hold a debate - what side do you want to be on and why?  Then read the book.  Have an after reading debate.  Did anything change?  What if you threw up the mystery character, would that make a difference?

Check out the sweet activity kit Sterling Publishing has put together.  It's on Josh's blog here.

So don't forget to walk run to your local bookstore or library and get a copy of this book on Tuesday, September 1st.  It's too fun to miss!

In the New England area?  Here are some of Josh's upcoming appearances:
Sept. 1st:  Porter Square Books Cambridge, MA
Sept. 9th:  An Unlikely Story Plainville, MA
Sept. 12th:  Cary Memorial Library Lexington, MA
Oct. 24th:  Wellesley Books Wellesley, MA
Nov. 14th:  The Blue Bunny Dedham, MA

Visit for all the latest Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast info!


  1. Love! Love! Love! What a sweet review & fantabulous ideas! I'll be sure to try these out after I grab my signed copy on the 1st! #luckynewenglander Thank you, #nerdypal!

  2. Thank you so much, Michele, for this thoughtful article. Can I also say that as I was writing the book, I wasn't even thinking about half of the things you (and other clever educators) have extracted from the story.

    Thanks again for all of your support and friendship!