Written by Tyler Florence | Illustrated by Craig Frazier | Harper Collins 2012
Foodie and friend Tyler Florence and I have cooked up a book together, Tyler Makes Pancakes! Meet little Tyler and his slightly chubby canine pal, Tofu. Awakened from a vivid dream in culinary outer space, Tyler is inspired to whip up some pancakes before his parents have their first cup of joe. With Tofu in tow and the help of a patient local grocer, Tyler learns all the places that his necessary ingredients come from. He visits a chicken ranch in California, harvests wheat in the fields of Kansas, picks blueberries in Maine and makes syrup in frigid Vermont. The take home lesson—good food isn’t grown on shelves.
This is how it happened. I met Tyler at the gym and said in passing one morning that we should try to do a kid’s book together. In his trademark southern enthusiasm, he said let’s get to it!
Tyler suggested this little guy that is obsessed with food, has food dreams and wants to learn to cook. Hmmm, sounds familiar. Well, I did some sketches and little Tyler was born. We designed ‘little Tyler’ as a round-headed, little bodied dude with curiosity written all over his simple face. Though I worked on ‘developing’ both characters, it turns out I didn’t stray far from my initial sketches.
We got together over several cups of coffee and Tyler started telling a story, and we both sketched at the same time. Tyler gets ridiculously excited about food and wants kids to as well. He’s waving his hands telling the story like it’s a movie and I’m trying to pack it into 36 pages! I drew up a storyboard that we knocked around until we thought we had shaped a good story. Then he got to the words and I got to the illustrations. It’s that simple—only took 2 years!