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Pancakes for Breakfast

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,312 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
This wordless picture book follows the trials of a little old lady who attempts to make pancakes for her breakfast. “The optimistic determination of the woman and the gentle humor of the illustrations make this an appealing book for the very young.”--School Library Journal

This title has been selected as a Common Core Text Exemplar (Grades K-1, Stories).
Paperback, 32 pages
Published April 3rd 1978 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 1978)
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The Arrival by Shaun TanTuesday by David WiesnerFlotsam by David WiesnerThe Snowman by Raymond BriggsGood Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day
Wordless Picture Books
24th out of 183 books — 275 voters
Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaolaIf You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Joffe NumeroffBunny Cakes by Rosemary WellsThunder Cake by Patricia PolaccoLittle Mouse and the Big Cupcake by Thomas Taylor
Picture Books About Cakes
1st out of 67 books — 14 voters

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Community Reviews

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You know, I have been reading Tomie dePaola’s works ever since I was a child and out of all of those works, I had never once read a book of Tomie dePaola’s that was…WORDLESS! Now, I have been reading many wordless picture books for ages, but I never knew that Tomie dePaola wrote a wordless picture book called “Pancakes for Breakfast” which was indeed his first wordless picture book!

The story starts off with an old woman waking up from bed, along with her dog and cat and she wanted to make a nice
Apr 01, 2011 Kathryn rated it liked it
This is a very fun story. A woman gets up and longs to have pancakes for breakfast. She reads the recipe (the only words in this otherwise wordless picture book, but that makes it nice if anyone wants to make the recipe themselves except, obviously, those of us who are vegan) and goes to the cupboard only to realize she doesn't have eggs (so she goes out to the barn to get some from the chickens), milk (so she goes out to milk the cow), etc. It's a cute way to show where our food comes from but ...more
Crystal Marcos
Jan 14, 2011 Crystal Marcos rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: wordless book lovers, pancake fans
This book holds a bit of nostalgia for me. I remember reading it when I was a child. Many of my favorite books featured food. You can tell by the name this one definitely has something to do with food. I was so excited to read this wordless picture book to my little girl. I am happy to report it is a hit with her too.

The story is charmingly simple and the illustrations are adorably humorous. I think Tomie dePaola really knows what children like to see.

Pancakes for Breakfast follows a woman who w
Oct 17, 2008 Keli rated it it was amazing

This is a wordless picture book about a woman who attemps to make herself pancakes for breakfast.


This is an incredibly charming book. Readers are walked through the process of making pancakes including collecting eggs, milking a cow and churning butter. The deceptively simple pictures reveals the thoughts and emotions of the woman beautifully. A second reading reveals the impending mischieviousness of the dog and cat are revealed. Unlike a book with words, this book allows both par
Apr 20, 2016 Lori rated it liked it
My five year old liked the idea of a book without words. She "read" it to me twice, making up her own versions of the story.
Lisa Vegan
Jun 21, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Crystal Marcos
Oh, I love the dog and the cat. And the virtually wordless story was going along in a way where I thought this would be a solid 2 or 3 star book (despite my finding of the cow’s milk & chicken eggs & cow’s milk butter unappealing, not to mention rather unrealistically procured) and figuring I’d have loved the book when I was a child, but THEN there’s a wonderful and very amusing twist and an equally wonderful ending, and I ended up really liking this book. Very funny! 3 stars (very sad ...more
Oct 19, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Tomie dePaola is quickly becoming a household favorite. He's a little lengthy for my preschoolers, however, my 5 yr old loves him. dePaola is educational and enjoyable to read. The illustrations have a unique style all their own that even I enjoy while reading. This one was about a woman trying to make pancakes and everything about the process going wrong. I loved how it had no words and so you had to follow the pictures. A fun read.
Amy Groesbeck
May 01, 2009 Amy Groesbeck rated it it was amazing
This wordless picture book is prefect for young students. Though there is no text at all, the illustrations depict the story flawlessly. The reader follows the steps an old woman takes to make pancakes. However, when she visits the neighbor’s house to borrow syrup, she returns home to find her pets have eaten her freshly made breakfast. However, her appetite is sated when the neighbors offer their pancakes. The story also contains many underlining messages. It demonstrates relationships and how ...more
Jun 21, 2016 Dolly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a fun story about persistence and determination as well as how cooking involves various ingredients and a step by step process to create a delicious meal.

While it's a "wordless" book, there are lots of subtle words incorporated into the illustrations (such as a complete recipe for pancakes, an egg bin that is labeled eggs, a flour container labeled flour, and framed picture that has a nice motto and theme for the story.)

We enjoyed "reading" this book together, taking turns describing t
Tomie dePaola's illustrations are always fun to look at. His drawings are simple, yet they have lots of detail and can easily tell a story all by themselves. In Pancakes for Breakfast, they do just that.
Children will have little trouble following the story of the lady who decides to make pancakes for her breakfast. Some of the steps the lady has to go through to get all the ingredients may be foreign to kids who haven't had any experience with a farm, but the story is still easy to understand a
Jul 18, 2016 Martin added it
Title: Pancakes for Breakfast
Author: Tommy DePaola
Illustrator: Tommy DePaola
Genre: Wordless picture book
Theme(s): Determination, self-sufficiency, neighborly help

Opening line/sentence:

Brief Book Summary:
A woman wants to make pancakes for breakfast but is all out of the ingredients. Full of determination, she is able to gather her ingredients from her farm and her neighbors.

Professional Recommendation/Review #1:
School Library Journal
The optimistic determination of the woman and the gentle hu
Mar 19, 2016 Alison added it
Title: Pancakes For Breakfast

Author: Tomie dePaola

Genre: Wordless Picture Book

Theme(s): Perseverance, Cooking, Farming

Brief Book Summary: An older woman decides to make pancakes and soon realizes that she does not have the ingredients necessary to make them. However, she lives on a farm and is able to get the ingredients needed for her pancakes and yet she still runs into a major problem.

Professional Recommendation/Review #1: With visions of pancakes dancing in her head, a little old lady goes
Jacinda Castro
Feb 25, 2016 Jacinda Castro rated it really liked it
This wordless picture book follow the morning of a woman who wants to make pancakes for breakfast. She gathers her ingredients, but notices she is missing some such as eggs, milk, and maple syrup. So, she goes to the barn to get the eggs from the chickens, milks the cow herself, and then begins to churn butter. She then goes out to buy maple syrup, but when she comes back her pets had spilled everything! She was at first very disappointed, but, due to an amusing twist in the end, she is finally ...more
Amber McFarland
Feb 08, 2016 Amber McFarland rated it liked it
I thought Pancakes for Breakfast was an okay book. It is a story about a lady who wakes up wanting pancakes for breakfast. She goes to the kitchen and pulls out a recipe for pancakes but she quickly realizes that she doesn't have all of the ingredients. She goes out to the barn to get eggs, then realizes she doesn't have any milk so she goes back to the barn and milks the cow. She then churns some butter but remembers she doesn't have any syrup so she goes and buys some from her neighbors. When ...more
Lauren Grosch
Feb 08, 2016 Lauren Grosch rated it really liked it
Pancakes for breakfast follows the story of a lady who wakes up in the morning and really wants pancakes. She gets out a recipe for pancakes and starts to make the batter. When she gets to the eggs, she realizes she doesn't have any. She goes out to the barn to get some eggs only to realize she has no milk. She goes back to the barn to milk the cow. She comes back and churns the butter. Finally she has all the ingredients except syrup. She goes to her neighbors house to buy some only to come hom ...more
Jan 16, 2016 Marilyn rated it it was amazing
This wordless picture books invites the "reader" to engage with his imagination and create a unique storyline. Wordless books are perfect for non-readers or reluctant readers because the readers can free themselves from the stress of decoding the printed words, relax and calmly talk about the pictures that are presented before them.

This little old woman starts out her day snuggled under her toasty warm covers accompanied by her rather chubby cat and her brown hound dog. She envisions in her min
Brieanna Olsen
Dec 08, 2015 Brieanna Olsen rated it really liked it
Shelves: fun-for-children
This story is about a little old lady who wakes up and decides she wants to make pancakes for breakfast. She looks in the cookbook, begins getting the ingredients together, and make so many pancakes, she could feed a lot more people than herself. I like how it shows her going out to her barn and getting certain ingredients from the animals such as milk and eggs. This makes it have a realistic, fun feel to the book. I also like how the story is about a grandma. Many young children are very attach ...more
Ashleigh Christensen
Oct 01, 2015 Ashleigh Christensen rated it really liked it
The wordless picture book Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola tells the story of an old woman who wants to make herself pancakes for breakfast. With the assistance of her cat and dog she goes to the kitchen and starts gathering the ingredients. Quickly she discovers she is out of eggs, so she goes out to the hen house to collect some. Upon returning, she finds she is out of milk, so she goes out to the barn to milk the cow. Upon returning, she finds she is out of maple syrup so she goes out ...more
Gabrielle King
Sep 30, 2015 Gabrielle King rated it really liked it
Pancakes for Breakfast is a wordless picture book about a little old lady craving, well, pancakes. The only text in the story is from the pancake recipe, where she finds she needs more ingredients than she has. She visits her chickens to collect eggs from their coop, she milks her cow, and finally she buys maple syrup from a small market. She churns butter for hours (time is depicted by the hands of the clock changing drastically), and finally she is ready to return home to make pancakes. Howeve ...more
Caitlin Lawler
Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola is the heartwarming wordless picture book about a little old lady who wakes up one morning with a craving for pancakes. She promptly opens the recipe book and searches through her cabinets to ensure she has the necessary ingredients. After all her hard work of finding the ingredients to make the pancakes, she find she has no maple syrup. She goes next door to ask for some from her neighbor and returns to a big mess in the kitchen from her dog and cat. Afte ...more
Sep 30, 2014 Rhayne rated it really liked it
People learn through trial and error, in that past experiences dictate future outcomes. We build ideologies, goals and dreams based off such experiences; accepting our past as a means to accomplish a future. Tomic Depaola depicts this process through his book Pancakes For Breakfast.

The story begins on a cold winter’s morning where an older woman, her dog and cat arise in hopes of crafting a breakfast of pancakes. Traditional illustrations exude life without replicating it as the reader follows
Cindy Sa
Oct 07, 2014 Cindy Sa rated it it was amazing
A cute aunt wanted to have a pancake in the morning, but she met many difficulties when she cook the pancakes. At the first time, she found out there was no egg in the egg bowl. Thus, she picked up some eggs from the chicken. In the next time, she found out there was no milk in the milk bottle, she went outside to have some. Suddenly, she found that there was no maple syrup, she went outside to buy some. However, when she went back home, her puppies made everything in destroy. She cannot have pa ...more
Jenna Kennedy
Oct 05, 2014 Jenna Kennedy rated it really liked it
Tomie dePaola creates a magnificent story for young children. The woman wakes up and happily decides to make homemade pancakes for breakfast. She begins to cook and realizes that she has no eggs, so she goes to the chicken coop. She then comes to find that there is no butter, so she goes to the churn. No milk? To the cow! All the meanwhile, her pet dog and cat are joyfully watching her create this wonderful meal. The woman leaves the house for one last item she needs, the syrup! On the way back ...more
May 21, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it
This poor lady just wants some pancakes and all these things keep getting in her way! I did like how the main character was awfully persistent. And in the end, she did get her pancakes, so everyone was happy. This story made me smile, another lovely book from the fabulous Tomie dePaola.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee

Time Machine
5.0 out of 5 stars Pancakes for Breakfast--A Classic Pre-Reader Book, May 27, 2005

As a mom of two emerging readers (one 3, one newly turned 5) I have done alot of research into how children learn to read. (See note below.)

One of the key skills that appears over and over in the literature is the ability to get 'clues' as to what is going on in the story from the pictures that accompany the text.

This is one of the reasons I give this wordless book by Tomie dePaola five stars. It giv
Apr 13, 2009 Luann rated it really liked it
Completely wordless except for the pancake recipe shown in the lady's cookbook, labels on the food containers (flour, eggs, butter, maple syrup), and a couple of signs. At the end, the lady is shown in front of a sign on her wall that says: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." A perfect motto for this lady as she attempts to have pancakes for breakfast. I love the ending.
Hailey Phay
Oct 07, 2014 Hailey Phay rated it really liked it
The reader follows the steps an old woman takes to make pancakes. However, when she visits the neighbor’s house to borrow syrup, she returns home to find her pets have eaten her freshly made breakfast. However, her appetite is sated when the neighbors offer their pancakes. The story also contains many underlining messages. It demonstrates relationships and how many different components create one final product. The story is really great for early readers with it not having words, but having the ...more
Mar 25, 2014 Amber rated it really liked it
This book contained no words that told the story but the pictures told the story very well. Each page had words and or a word bubble that helped you decipher for yourself what was going on. I really enjoyed how cute the pictures were as well. The characters were cartoony but realistic at the same time. The pages were also full of pictures they cover the whole entire page with no boarders, which I think is essential for a no word picture book. Then when he starts to make the pancakes they separat ...more
Tiffany Brown
This book showed pictures of a woman that wanted pancakes for her breakfast and the struggles that she went through while making them. This a great book to show students when learning about sequential order because the pictures a drawn to show the step by step process of what the women needed to do to make pancakes. I liked this book because the students get to see that when the woman did not have eggs, milk or butter how she got those ingredients right off the farm and even asking a neighbor. S ...more
May 05, 2016 Stanislav242 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wordless
In this wordless book, we see an old woman who wants some pancakes for the morning. She and her pets have to do what they got to do! Here, we see how food is being prepared oldschool style…she gets the milk from the cow, eggs from chickens, flour from bag, etc…not the prepackaged things we have today, she gets out there and gets it done! Nice , easy to decipher illustrations, his pictures may be oldschool but you can easily tell what is being done….as before some picture books were confusing and ...more
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Tomie dePaola (pronounced Tommy da-POW-la) is best known for his books for children.
He's been published for 40 years and has written and/or illustrated over 200 books, including 26 Fairmount Avenue, Strega Nona, and Meet the Barkers.
Tomie dePaola and his work have been recognized with the Caldecott Honor Award, the Newbery Honor Award and the New Hampshire Governor's Arts Award of Living Treasure.
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