Gingerbread Stories: Catch that Cookie!
Type “gingerbread” into the Toronto Public Library's search box and you will find many stories about delicious little cookies that like to run – and boast about it. “Run, run, run, as fast as you can! You can’t catch me! I’m the Gingerbread Man.” This familiar childhood character has been reworked for modern times. The runner is now a gingerbread baby, a pirate, a ninja, and that cookie even goes to school. Sample some of these amusing gingerbread stories to add some sweet fun to the holidays.
Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
Matti makes a gingerbread boy, but he springs out of the oven as a gingerbread baby and proceeds to dash away calling out, “I am the Gingerbread Baby, fresh from the pan. If you want me, catch me if you can.” He outruns a cat, a dog, and even the fox, until a surprise ending awaits. Brett’s baby reappears in Gingerbread Friends and Gingerbread Christmas.
The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup
It’s Christmas Eve and Jim and his mother bake up a crew of gingerbread pirates. Jim loves the captain best of all and drifts off to sleep wishing for a pirate ship for his pirate crew. A chance encounter between Santa Claus and the pirates leads to a merry Christmas morning.
The Ninjabread Man by C. J. Leigh
An old sensei makes ninjabread, a special treat for his ninja students. When he peeks into the oven – KA-POW! – out bursts the Ninjabread Man. Can Ninjabread Man outwit Ninja Fox, or will he disappear in a cloud of sugar dust? Includes a Ninjabread cookie recipe.
The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray
“I’m the Gingerbread Man, and I’m trying to find the children who made me, but left me behind.” So begins this funny adventure as the gingerbread man travels through the school seeking his classmates. Murray sets her gingerbread man loose in other books, including at the zoo and at Christmas time.
The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth
Wearing a smart outfit and a fine looking hat, the Gingerbread Man outruns a husband, a wife, a cow, and a muddy old sow, but can he outrun the tricky fox? This traditional tale ends as one might suspect. Includes a gingerbread cookie recipe.
The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone
The little old woman in this tale gives her gingerbread boy two “good-sized feet." Those feet take him speedily through the countryside until he reaches the river's edge and needs a little help from the fox. This cumulative tale, with plenty of repetition, is an excellent book to share or read aloud.
The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst
The Gingerbread Boy has a younger, wiser sister. Surely this sweet little girl won’t run away from the old woman and the old man like her brother did, but she too heads off singing, “I’ll run and I’ll run, with a leap and a twirl. You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread GIRL!" Fortunately, her run ends a little differently than her brother's.
The Gingerbread Man by Maria Alperin
With jolly jelly buttons and a big icing smile, this gingerbread man runs through the pages until he meets the river’s edge and needs a ride across from the friendly fox. The story ends happily for the couple who baked him, but not so happily for that "naughty gingerbread man".
If you’d like to make your own gingerbread people, here’s a recipe that always turns out.
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
- In large pot, heat sugar, spices, molasses and margarine until margarine has melted.
- Remove from heat, stir in baking soda, cool 5 minutes.
- Add flour and salt, then beat in egg and mix to smooth dough. Knead until pliable.
- Roll out ¼” thick on floured board, cut out, arrange on cookie sheet with plenty of space between cookies.
- Bake approximately 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. Cool 5 minutes.
- Mix icing sugar with enough egg white to give a good consistency. Ice cookies.
If you’d rather not bake, try making one of these fancy houses with the kids.
No-Bake Gingerbread Houses for Kids by Lisa Turner Anderson
And for everything gingerbread, from cakes to ice cream to pancakes, check out this one.
Gingerbread: Timeless Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Desserts, Ice Cream, and Candy by Jennifer Lindner McGlinn
With the baking done, it’s time to listen to The Gingerbread Man by Kathy-Reid Naiman and let your children run, run, run, as fast as the gingerbread man. When they’re all tired out, you can settle down with a cookie and enjoy a gingery good afternoon.
Sing the Cold Winter Away by Kathy Reid-Naiman