Mama Panya's Pancakes

by Mary Chamberlin

Paperback, 2006



Local notes

E Cha




Barefoot Books (2006), 40 pages


Mama Panya has just enough money to buy ingredients for a few pancakes, so when her son Adika invites all their friends to join them, she is sure there will not be enough to go around.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

40 p.; 9.75 x 0.25 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member conuly
First, let me mention for those interested in the subject that this book shows babywearing in the background in one of the spreads.

The moral of the story, how a simple dinner became a feast when "all their friends" were invited to share it, is neither overly expressed nor too subtle for little
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ones. The illustrations are bright and colorful, this book will attract a lot of attention :)

Please note that it's a bit wordy, probably suited for the older of the 4-8 crowd. The same advice *definitely* goes for the supplemental information at the back of the book, all sorts of things on how people live in Kenya and a few simple Swahili phrases and, of course, a recipe :)

I will note that over on Amazon one reviewer was very upset at the name "Mama Panya", she says that panya means rat, a despised animal in Kenya, as in the US. This is something to be aware of, though your young one will likely not know this detail, of course.
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LibraryThing member alswartzfager
This is a story about a mother and boy who live in East Africa. They are going to make pancakes so the little boy invites his neighbors, however his mother becomes worried that they will not have enough money to feed everyone. The guests bring gifts, and everything works out. The illustrations are
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by Julia Cairns. The pictures offer very pretty scenery.
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LibraryThing member KristinSpecht
A very great story to help teach about different cultures and family connections. Teaches different roles in the family. Teaches the importance of working together.The end of the book elaborates on village life in Kenya, walking to the market, speaking kiswahili, facts about kenya, and, mama
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Panya's pancakes.
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LibraryThing member Brittany_Leimer
This book is slightly repetitive with some of the sayings. It shows a lot about the African culture and just family and friend life in general. I could use this book for a food unit also.
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
As she and her son Adika make their way to market to buy the flour and chili pepper she needs to make pancakes, Mama Panya is dismayed at the number of people Adika invites to join them at their meal. With only two coins in her pocket, how will she feed so many people...?

A lovely picture-book, with
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an engaging but simple narrative that touches upon themes of community and generosity, Mama Panya's Pancakes is both entertaining and educational. The authors, Mary and Rich Chamberlin, have included a section of factual information about Kenya at the back, as well as a glossary of Swahili terms, and a recipe for Mama Pany'a pancakes. The watercolor illustrations by Julia Cairns are vivid and expressive, giving the story a real sense of place. A worthy addition to any children's library - thanks for steering me to this one, Lisa!
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LibraryThing member efried5
9. I really liked the book “Mama Panya’s Pancakes” by Mary and Rich Chamberlin. The writing was engaging as it told a story in third person about a child and his mother in Kenya. Kiswahili words were incorporated into the dialogue of the story, which provided readers with an opportunity to
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expand their knowledge of Kenyan culture. I enjoyed the illustrations as they were colorful and covered entire pages. I especially liked that at the end of the story there were pages that explained further “village life in Kenya” and “speaking Kiswahili,” which in my opinion are great tools for expanding young readers’ knowledge of a culture very different from that of Americans. The main message of this book was to show readers how a village comes together to take care of one another and it expands readers’ knowledge of the Kenyan culture.
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LibraryThing member tmalon4
This book is based off of an old tale, which originated in from Kenya, about a mother and her son who go to a market to get ingredients for pancakes for their dinner. I though it was interesting how the illustrations show what it’s like to live in huts, walk around without shoes on, and wear
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bright clothing and head wraps. Throughout the story, the Mom always says “a little bit and a little bit more” when the son asks how much further they need to walk, or how much money they have to spend at the market. Although I liked the illustrations in this book, I did not like how the bilingual conversations in the text between the characters were not translated.
Adika, the son, invites everyone that they pass on the way to the market to come for pancakes but Mama Panya “frowned, thinking about the two coins in her wrap.” Here, we see that the family may be poor, and the mother worries that she does not have enough money to get enough ingredients for all of her guests. Within the illustrations, I liked that the different people that they passed were dressed differently, like the man who is fishing who wears pants and a button down, and the kid’s they see are wearing long dresses.
Towards the end of the story, Adika begins to assure his mother that they will have enough money for ingredients to make pancakes for all of the people that he continues to invite, and he says to her “oh, a little bit and a little bit more.” All of the guests ended up bringing more food and flour, which shows that although you may feel helpless sometimes, people will try and support and help you when you need it. I also liked how at the end of the book explains the village life in Kenya with people, general village life, school, and after school and what they do. This makes the book both informational and traditional.
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LibraryThing member Jennifer LeGault
On market day, Mama Penya's son invites everyone he sees to a pancake dinner. The importance of sharing, even if you very little is modeled in this Kenyan village.
LibraryThing member kaitanya64
This story not only has beautiful illustrations and lively, fluent text, but it captures the very essence of Kenyan village life, that food is to be shared and connections are more important than possessions.




(38 ratings; 4.3)
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