I am picky about new versions of THE GINGERBREAD MAN and I LOVE this new one, THE GINGERBREAD MAN LOOSE IN THE SCHOOL by Laura Murray. I heard about this book from Shannon Miller (@shannonmmiller) on Twitter and ordered it right away when I heard how much her students were enjoying it. And after reading it lots of times, it is my first BOOK I CAN READ A MILLION TIMES for 2011-2012. (And I am thinking Bill at Literate Lives may want to add it to his PICKS FROM THE PIT.)
First of all, the Gingerbread Man on the cover is quite lovable from the start. He is standing quite happily with his hands on his hips. The story starts out in a classroom where students are making the Gingerbread Man. But the fun is that it is told from the Gingerbread Man's perspective. The first line reads, "I began in a bowl. I was not yet myself-" How can you not love him already?
But, right after the Gingerbread Man comes out of the oven, the teacher lets the kids know it is time for recess and they all run out of the room. The Gingerbread Man panics and decides to run and find them. So, off he goes. He runs into lots of nice people who help him (the school nurse, the coach, the art teacher, etc.) To each one, he says, "I'm the Gingerbread Man and I'm trying to find the children who made me, but left me behind." A few repeated phrases will invite student participation. There is a cute happy ending when he finally finds his class.
I can't end the review without mentioning the brilliant illustrations by Mike Lowery. The Gingerbread boy is lovable and the colors the illustrator uses make this gingerbread story unique. There is a graphic novel feel to the book with boxes for various scenes. The illustrations add a great deal to the story.
This is a great one for any time of the year. I am sharing it with students this week and I like it more and more each time I read it. The kids love the story and discovering the similarities and differences in this one and other versions they've read. They love joining in while I read and they are all so happy when it is finished. Some kids have gone off during library time to write their own school versions of the Gingerbread man story. I am pretty sure this will be a book I will never see again once it is available for check out! I can see it being quite popular!