Local Author Brings The World To Your Breakfast Table In “Paddy Pancake”

The children’s book about a globe-trotting dog includes simple pancake recipes kids can try at home.


To Tina Honkus, breakfast isn’t just the most important meal of the day, it’s her muse. 

The Somerset resident penned “Paddy Pancake,” a children’s book about a pup who travels around the world meeting different dogs and sampling all kinds of flapjacks. From China and Greece to Ireland and France, the hungry canine trades kibble for a griddle. 

Geared toward kids ages 2 to 10, the story doubles as a geography lesson and includes easy recipes that families can try at home. It’s self-published and available online for $17.95 and will be shipped in mid-December. A portion of sales will be donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee.

After retiring from a career in human resources — a position that allowed her to see the world — Honkus enrolled in a writing course and bonded in the kitchen with her grandkids Jay, 7, and Zella Irwin, 5. 

Then a pancreatic cancer diagnosis forced her to start a new chapter in her life.

Honkus, who receives cancer treatment in Pittsburgh, put her literary dreams on the backburner to focus on her health. During the pandemic downtime, her daughter, Kristin Irwin, encouraged her to revisit the hobby. 

Tina HonkusInspired by trips abroad, her husband Gary’s pancakes (his recipe’s in the book!) and the family sheepadoodle, Honkus sunk her teeth into telling the tale.

Turns out pancakes are therapeutic.

“I think it’s been good for me,” she says. “I’ve been setting goals and making my to-do list. Keeping yourself motivated and positive is really beneficial.”

In addition to benefiting St. Jude, Honkus is using “Paddy Pancake” to publicize her other passion project, Wings of Hope.

Based in Johnstown, Cambria County, the nonprofit financially assists between 10 and 15 cancer patients a year. Honkus and her sisters Brenda Burnosky and Tammy Miller-Moore launched the program over a decade ago in honor of her their mother, Evelyn Miller, who experienced both melanoma and pancreatic cancer. 

Wings of Hope holds two primary events each year, an Easter weekend run/walk and an ugly sweater run that kicks off Johnstown’s holiday parade. Its impact is felt year-round. 

Even as Honkus continues her medical fight, she still spends time in the kitchen with two budding chefs, making meals as well as memories.

Now, thanks to the adventures of Paddy Pancake, more children are learning that, despite our cultural differences, we can all bond over a short stack dripping with butter and maple syrup. 

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