Marsupial Sue Presents "The Runaway Pancake"

( 11 )

Overview

"I'm too fast, you're too slow. Pan, pan, patty-cake pan, I can get away from you, I can!"
The much-loved story of the Runaway Pancake who pops out of the oven and is sure he can escape all who want to eat him, is given a new spin when Marsupial Sue and her friends put on a play version for their neighborhood. This has all of the wit and whimsy of Marsupial Sue and again features lively illustrations by Jack E. Davis. From the friends' preparations behind the scenes to the actors' final bows, readers will be ...

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Overview

"I'm too fast, you're too slow. Pan, pan, patty-cake pan, I can get away from you, I can!"
The much-loved story of the Runaway Pancake who pops out of the oven and is sure he can escape all who want to eat him, is given a new spin when Marsupial Sue and her friends put on a play version for their neighborhood. This has all of the wit and whimsy of Marsupial Sue and again features lively illustrations by Jack E. Davis. From the friends' preparations behind the scenes to the actors' final bows, readers will be inspired by the production. A CD recording of John Lithgow's live performance of the song "The Runaway Pancake" is also included.

Sue, a kangaroo, and some of her Australian animal friends put on a play called "The Runaway Pancake."

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Marsupial Sue, the kangaroo, returns for an encore, starring with her fellow Aussie pals in a boisterous backyard play production of The Runaway Pancake. Lithgow's comic wordplay combines with zany pictures to create an exuberant read-aloud. Best of all are the cast's hilarious homemade costumes (picture a tasmanian devil posing as a fox with taped-on whiskers and a toilet-brush tail). A CD of Lithgow reading the story is included. (ages 4 to 6)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2005
Publishers Weekly
The spunky gal first introduced in Marsupial Sue here presents a retelling of the tale of the Runaway Pancake as a neighborhood play, Marsupial Sue Presents "The Runaway Pancake": Book and CD by John Lithgow, illus. by Jack Davis. What starts out onstage, however, quickly bursts onto spreads of Davis's quirky landscapes, filled with an offbeat cast (the Fox sports a jester-like cast, a koala uses socks to look the part of a canine, etc.), all in pursuit of one rolly-polly, boisterous pancake. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Marsupial Sue and her friends are presenting their version of "The Gingerbread Man." Sue has the role of Auntie May, who cooks a pancake in the oven. As soon as it is done, it jumps out of the pan and rolls away, singing as it goes. It meets a variety of animals until it is finally outsmarted by a fox. Because the story is set as a play, Davis has the challenge of depicting animals dressed as other creatures. Some of them are hard to decipher and could be confusing to children. Also confusing is the fact that as the play begins, the colored-pencil, acrylic, dye, and ink illustrations depict a stage with an audience, but as it progresses, the setting changes to the countryside. The text is printed on top of the bright, full-page cartoon art, an effect that is busy but readable. The book reads like a transcript of a storyteller's performance and follows closely Lithgow's own words on the accompanying CD. His performance is animated and highly entertaining. Almost as delightful are the background comments by the young "live" audience. Despite the shortcomings of the book, the CD is worth the purchase price. Note, however, that Marsupial Sue is never mentioned by name; she is simply "Auntie May," which may disappoint readers expecting her to have a bigger role in the book.-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this hilarious sequel, Sue, Bartholomew Koala, Sydney Wombat, Winifred Wallaby, Percy Platypus, Melbourne Sheep and Neville, the Tasmanian Devil star in their local Aussie production of "The Runaway Pancake." Sue plays Auntie May who bakes a pancake for lunch that jumps from the oven wearing a "naughty expression on his face" and runs away singing, "I'm too fast, you're too slow. . . . I can get away from you, I can." With Auntie May in hot pursuit, the Runaway Pancake rolls through the countryside taunting all with his cocky refrain. Soon a Dog, a Cow, a Donkey, a Wolf and a Bear join the chase until the Fox lures the renegade Pancake just close enough. Colored-pencil, acrylic and ink illustrations packed with wacky details are entertaining in their own right, especially the Pancake in his running shoes. From endpages showing cast and crew prepping backstage to the final-page bow, this rollicking, rib-tickling, rhythmic rendition of a favorite tale will provide a gleeful read-aloud and sing-along. (CD recording of author's live performance) (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689878473
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 8/30/2005
  • Edition description: Book and CD
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 143,345
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

John Lithgow

John Lithgow is the New York Times bestselling author of I Got Two Dogs; Mahalia Mouse Goes to College; Marsupial Sue Presents: The Runaway Pancake; I’m A Manatee; Micawber; Marsupial Sue; The Remarkable Farkle McBride; and Carnival of the Animals. An award-winning actor, he has starred on stage, film, and television. He performs concerts across the country and has recorded the CDs Farkle and Friends, Singin’ in the Bathtub, and The Sunny Side of the Street. Visit John at JohnLithgow.com.

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Interviews & Essays

A Conversation with John Lithgow

Fans were first introduced to the kangaroo Sue in the book Marsupial Sue (2001). Why did you decide to bring this character back in your latest book?

JL: Marsupial Sue has been one of my most popular books, so it was only logical to bring her back for another visit. In the first one, I loved her three supporting players, the koala, platypus, and wallaby. So I decided to make up a story with an even larger cast of characters. What do you do with a cast of characters? Have them put on a play!

In Marsupial Sue Presents "The Runaway Pancake," Sue and her friends put on a neighborhood play. Do you remember the first play you acted in?

JL: My dad produced theatre and so as a child, I played various children. In my first role I was so young, I don't even remember it! At two years old, I played one of Nora's children in Ibsen's A Doll House (my dad played my father). I have not one single memory of it, but I'm told I was very good.

You have performed "The Runaway Pancake" live in concert. How has the audience responded?

JL: I made up the song of "The Runaway Pancake" when my oldest boy was a toddler, which means I've been singing it for over thirty years. In concerts I always kept it until last because it was the kids' favorite. By the time I finished the song, the kids would know it by heart. Just when the Pancake was singing his loudest, the kids were singing their loudest too. You can hear it happen on the CD!

All of your children's books deal with the fine arts. Why do you think it's important to introduce children to the arts at an early age?

JL: In many ways, kids introduce themselves to the arts. Creative play involves all of the arts: playacting, music-making, dancing and drawing. I intend my books to be just plain fun stories, but my hidden intent is to nudge their discovery process along.

You recently became the first professional actor ever to speak at a Harvard commencement. In your speech, you mentioned your children's books and emphasized the importance of art in society. What do you feel is the biggest challenge to the arts at this time?

JL: I firmly believe that vibrant, vital, unfettered creativity in the arts is absolutely essential to a healthy society. This means encouragement, education, support, and audience-building. The challenge to the arts is that they remain such a low priority among educators and legislators. Arts education, for example, is the first thing to go when a board of education is in financial trouble. This shouldn't be so.

You worked with Jack E. Davis on the first Marsupial Sue book. Has your collaboration process changed over time?

JL: Jack is a wonderful collaborator. He takes what you give him and spins it into something much more. It's delightful to work with an illustrator with such an exuberant visual imagination.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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(8)

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(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 13, 2014

    So Much Fun

    When I asked my 6 year old granddaughter what book her soon to be 5 year old cousin would like for her birthday. She replied, "Marsupial Sue" of course. It is a super fun book especially when you play the Jon Lithgow CD. The grand kids listen to it again and again until they can repeat it verbatim with all the inflections! The 8 and 2 year old enjoy it as much as the 5 Andy 6 year old. It is basically the same story as the "Gingerbread Man."

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  • Posted November 8, 2013

    Pop in that CD a let John Lithgow do the reading and singing for

    Pop in that CD a let John Lithgow do the reading and singing for you. My boys are 2 and 4 and the 4 year-old in particular loooooves this book. He wants to read over and over again.

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  • Posted April 25, 2010

    Great story for children! Love the CD

    I gave this book to a kindergarten classroom studying Australia and they loved it! The pictures are colorful, the CD and song and animated and catchy. It is a fun story whether you listen to the CD or not. John Lithgow makes it great with his reading the story and singing the song!

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  • Posted November 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Let your kids sing "No, no, no....."

    We love this book, and our kids love singing along with the Pancake. It's just a lot of fun.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    This book is stimulating for family and as a teacher, it has been very endearing for the children I have used it with.

    I have Thoroughly enjoyed using this book with my 4 and 5 yrs old class. I put it in the CD when I got it home and played it for my husband. We have always loved John Lithgow and his voice makes it come alive. I have played the CD 2times for the kids and taken it home. Once I didn't have a CD and read it myself but I didn't have the same edge as the CD. All the children were singing along. Splendid for memory. I actually know a child who seriously stutters and he can sing the song perfectly. Mel Tillis anyone? So this book is good for all ages and very good for spontaneous reaction from children. The only drawback was that one little girl was upset over the ending, and sensitive to the fact the pancakes was eaten whole. This took some explaining about the fantasy of the book, teaching them that all the characters in the book were fictional.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Kids love to hear John Lithgow sing about Marsupial Sue!

    I teach kindergarten and I had to purchase a copy so we can have our own in the classroom. I use it when we read variations of the gingerbread man.

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  • Posted March 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not original, but fun

    Celebrity authored books are all the rage; a famous name helps sell copies and publishers are eager to promote such books. Unfortunately, being a celebrity does not make that person a good writer and many of these books suffer from poor plots, substandard writing or storylines that lack originality. Fortunately, Marsupial Sue Present The Runaway Pancake rises above the clutter of lackluster celebrity books for children.

    In Marsupial Sue, Sue and her friends are putting on a play with Sue in the lead role of Auntie May. When Auntie May decides to cook herself a pancake, the narrator of the play cautions that "You must never, ever, EVER cook a pancake in a hot oven. And my story will tell you why."

    Auntie May puts her pancake in the oven and then does housework while her lunch cooks. But she soon hears a noise from inside the oven. When she opens the door, out pops her pancake, complete with eyes, nose, mouth and feet. As her lunch runs away, Auntie May pleads for it to return. The pancake teases,

    "No, no.
    No, no, no.
    I'm too fast, you're too slow.
    Pan, pan, patty-cake pan,
    I can get away from you, I can!"

    With Auntie May following, the pancake comes upon a dog who is also eager to eat it, but the pancake refuses to be anybody's lunch and repeats his jingle, this time adding a line about the dog. Soon, the pancake has a whole host of animals, along with Auntie May, chasing him and the jingle he repeats on each page has grown much longer, as he adds a line for each animal. It looks as though the pancake might escape until he comes upon the sly, old red fox. (It is odd that the illustrator choose to draw the red fox as purple.)

    Marsupial Sue is not a new theme, it's a rehashing of the runaway gingerbread man, however, Lithgow does a good job of recounting the adventure. Children will enjoy the ever growing jingle and have fun anticipating what will happen as the pancake meets each new animal. I'm not sure why Lithgow choose to present the story as if Marsupial Sue and her friends were putting on a play. The play aspect gets lost in the story and serves no purpose.

    Quill says: Better than most celebrity authored stories, it's not original, but it is fun.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2006

    A Runaway Hit

    This book and cd are amazing...my son absolutely loves it. He shared it with his Pre K class and they keep asking him to bring it back. The story is fun and the music is contagious...sure to be a children's classic!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2005

    awesome

    My son is 5 years old and loves animals , loves story's and this book... i got him for his birthday ,it comes with a cd that also has john lithgow telling the story and singing the song its deightful ,my son reads along with it sings the song ....just truly laughs and sings and reads it over and over filled with lots of animals and of course my sons favitote food ..panckaes so its a winner can't wait for the next one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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