Flip Flops: No pancake goes to waste. Krause collects the ones that fall on the floor and later feeds them to squirrels back home in Wisconsin.

Garfield Elementary students spent a chilly February evening reading beloved children’s books beside a sizzling-hot pancake griddle. The annual Read-In, Feb. 20, was inspired by author Laura Numeroff’s series of books, including, “If You Give a Pig a Pancake.” This year’s theme, “Reading is Delicious,” was celebrated with a return visit by the Pancake Brothers from Wisconsin, who served up a pancake “flip off” for the evening’s attendees and hosts.

“It seems to be getting bigger each year,” remarked Reading Specialist Rose Bottorff. “This is my 10th year.” The event culminated with a musical performance by Garfield’s second grade class, led by music teacher Maria Carini.

“We always have parent involvement on nights like this,” said Jamie Stauder, Garfield’s principal. About a dozen parents signed up to volunteer. Stauder sees collaboration among parents and staff as a real team effort.

Jeffrey Jones, father of Justin and Noah, came out to Garfield specifically for the book fair. The family was among many lined just outside the school entrance for a chance to peruse tables stacked with childhood favorites, such as Angry Birds, Clifford, and Olivia. Jeff and his family recently moved to Forest Park. He loves reading to his sons, whose favorite books are about superheroes and cars.

Destiny Freeman and her aunt Catherine were drawn by the allure of freshly flipped pancakes. Destiny just transferred to Garfield from an elementary school in Chicago. Kathleen Bell and her exuberant son Locklan chowed down as a mountain of mis-flipped pancakes began to pile up beneath Uncle Pancake’s table.

Edmundo Saenz and Maria Martinez, father and mother of Maritza and Maya, were also in attendance. Maria praised Garfield’s excellent advertisement of the event.

Barb Popelka, support services assistant, helped organize the event.

“Wherever they need me is basically where I go,” said Barb, who maintains a goal for every new book fair. She likes to top the previous year’s efforts, raising more money, and coming up with more ideas for fun activities each time.

All proceeds from the book fair and Read-In benefit the school — from assemblies to classroom supplies for teachers.

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