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Reviewed by Carmen Tenorio for Readers' Favorite
Penguins Eat Pancakes by Low Lai Chow is a picture book that gives us a line-up of popular carnivorous animals and their usual meals. This is quickly followed by suggested meatless and possibly plant-based but still palatable and healthy alternatives to enjoy, all of which are meant to break the same old same old boredom of eating the standard fare of deer and scorpions for example, and switching to delicious pancakes or spaghetti instead. The suggested diet switch it seems is also meant to correct the imbalance found in the world and our bodies caused by eating too much meat.
Penguins Eat Pancakes is written using simple language, some clever rhymes, and an occasional play on sounds that will make the young reader feel comfortable and entertained. The handwritten text and sketchy, uneven drawings make the book child friendly and appealing. The decision to feature strong animals not only gives the material character but can make the child associate being powerful with the habit of eating and eating well. The book helps foster a willingness to change the usual to the unusual, introduced in a lighthearted, fun manner. It is also a good example for young vegetarians because it can give them confidence in their preferred diet and way of life and that they shouldn't feel any less accepted in a society where every child eats hamburgers and chicken.
Low Lai Chow believes that well-chosen plant-based meals can make the world a better place, and this diet choice is often cited by experts as a way of reducing our carbon footprint, encouraging sustainability, and ultimately leading to a healthier body and planet. The book's message is clear. We should collectively realize that eating involves more than just putting food in our bodies. It can and ought to be purposeful, pleasurable, satisfying, and healthy. A recommended read-along book for beginning to emerging readers and older.