Honolulu artist Scott Goto added local flava to "The Great Pancake Escape," a picture book that topped the Los Angeles Times best children's books list for 2002.

Isle artist adds subtle
local images in ‘Pancake’

Runaway flapjacks lead three children on a grand adventure down alleyways, through the park and across town in "The Great Pancake Escape." The hungry youngsters are determined to get back the renegade pancakes that morph into manholes, taxi wheels, Frisbees, even decorations on a woman's hat after the children's magician dad mistakenly brings the pancakes to life.

Los Angeles Times book review editors recently named the book, written by Paul Many and illustrated by Honolulu artist Scott Goto, as one of the best children's books of 2002.

Goto's lavish brush strokes are featured in the book for children ages 4 to 8 (or anyone young at heart), which the author describes as "a cross between Harry Potter, the Gingerbread Boy and 'Where's Waldo?'"

"The Great Pancake Escape,"
by Paul Many, illustrated by Scott Goto
(Walker and Co., $11.87 at

Goto, a graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., also illustrated "Will Rogers: Larger Than Life," "Shooting Star, Annie Oakley, The Legend," "Heat Wave" and "Shoeshine Whittaker."

The illustrations for "Pancake," he said, "were a little bit more fun because the story is more zany."

"I like to stick a few local things in the illustrations, whether it is hidden or obvious," Goto said.

"The Great Pancake Escape" includes a variety of subtle, local images, including a man crossing the street wearing an aloha shirt, a shoyu bottle on the table and postcards of Diamond Head on the fridge. One of Goto's favorite drawings depicts a city bus ("TheBus") with pancake wheels and a destination that reads "Kalihi."

"Some illustrations also include a play on words," said Goto, who included a modified C&H sugar box and a Foremost milk container.

The School Library Journal called Goto's illustrations "expressive and luminous."

"The Great Pancake Escape" is not available in local bookstores, but it can be ordered online.

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