Richard Scarry’s books were a favorite of mine growing up, especially What Do People Do All Day and The Funniest Storybook Ever. So much so, that my mom saved them and we have passed them on to Avery, who enjoys them as much as I did.
I could get lost for hours looking at every detail in those drawings and I still do but with the company of my own son. Poor Mr. Frumble always chasing his hat and that Bananas Gorilla is so cray cray.
Avery has also discovered the Busytown Mysteries series, which is available on Netflix. It’s fun being an adult with the theme song lyrics “Who, What, When, Where, Why, How” stuck in your head all day. Or for days. And sometime even weeks.
P.S. There is another older Richard Scarry series available on Netflix. It’s called the Busy World of Richard Scarry and is a closer adaptation of the books.
I think as parents, it’s natural to want to make our children’s dreams come true or brighten their day with something as simple as a animal-shaped pancake. It sounds trite, I know, but it’s what compels many of us to wait in extraordinarily long lines in hopes of nabbing the latest toy trend, shiver in the damp dewey grass watching little ones chase after a ball on the only day to sleep late or drive back and forth to dance class every. single. day.
So after months of listening him talking about his dream of having a Peter Pan birthday party, I knew I needed to deliver. Or at least try.
And frankly, it’s another excuse to make cute food.
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A backyard showing of The Adventures of Tintin was the inspiration for this week’s breakfast.
It shall go down in history as Avery’s first “big boy” movie, characterized by the presence of guns, which is a big step from Caillou. Surrounded by friends and lying on blankets under the stars, he mustered up enough courage to watch the entire film.
Tips: Draw the outline first with a squirt bottle and fill in the rest a few minutes later to achieve a darker border.
Captain Hook has been an ongoing request (successfully ignored!) for the past few months and it wasn’t until recently I figured out how to achieve his likeness in pancake form without relying on his trademark hook.
Folks, it’s all in the brow, large nose, signature mustache and long chin.
Peter Pan is on the brain these days and I’ve been happily pinning everything pirate related because we’re in the midst of planning Avery’s fourth birthday party. You know, the one in November (cue eye roll now). And if you think we’re overly obsessive with the pancakes, well, let’s not even discuss birthday parties. Let’s just call it an only child perk. I had them growing up and now I give them – that’s just the way it is (cue chorus of “get a life, woman!”).
Tips: Drag a knife through Nutella to create texture for hair.
An homage to Maurice Sendak, who passed away last Tuesday.
A sensitive, wise artist influenced by Melville, Mozart and Blake, who readily admitted he didn’t know how to write children’s books.
His work lives on in all of us.
And if you have the time, listen to this.
Tips: Use a modified squirt bottle for finer details like hair and a large pancake spatula to keep them intact when flipping.
Avery’s pancake request couldn’t have been more complicated this week. He asked not just for Awesome Man, but his dog, too. The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man is the creation of Michael Chabon, an author who also wrote one of my favorite novels: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.
It’s quickly become one of our favorite books to read at night and has taught some useful lessons to use during the day. You see, Awesome Man’s secret identity is that of a young boy (based on Chabon’s son). When Awesome Man gets really angry, he tells the reader he wants to start hitting or throwing stuff. But since he’s superstrong, he has to be careful and create some alone time to give himself a “ginormous Awesome Power Grip,” which means he hugs his knees to his chest until he calms down.
We have encouraged the Power Grip in this house many times.
Tips: Make one large pancake for the whole family to share.