Mama Panya and her son Adika set off for market. Adika is keen to know if Mama will be making pancakes that night. Once she says yes, he makes sure to invite all of their friends! Mama is nervous, as she is only carrying two coins, but Adika is confident that they will buy enough. Of course, they do, as all their guests bring gifts to share at the meal - fish, plantains, butter, milk and spices - as well as the gift of friendship itself.
This is a brilliant story for introducing toddlers to the idea of life in other countries. The illustrations, and the way in which the story is written - not to mention the odd bit of Kiswahili thrown in for good measure - really help transport the reader to Kenya. As well as the story itself, there's some great additional material in the back of the book to explain more about village life in Kenya, to introduce some of the trees and animals that we see in the illustrations, to give further information about Kiswahili and Kenya and, last of all, there's a recipe for Mama Panya's pancakes!
My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter really loves this book. She loves looking for Mama Panya's dog in all the pictures, and joining in with the story where she can. She has found the rather exotic names of all the characters fun to repeat and remember, and she has enjoyed learning a bit about Mama Panya's life, and how it is different from ours.
This review refers to the paperback edition of 'Mama Panya's Pancakes' published by Barefoot Books.