BooksForKidsBlog

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thinking Outside the Box! Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers by Lisa Campbell Ernst


WE'RE WILD ANIMAL CRACKERS.
HEAR OUR FIERCE ROAR!
YOU CAN'T CATCH US!
WE'RE OFF TO EXPLORE.

When the little old man and woman who baked her give Gingerbread Girl a special "bake-day" gift, she is delighted to discover that it is a fine box of animal crackers. She's always wanted "someone like me" to play with, and she can't wait to see her new friends.

But when she opens the box, BLAM! The animals pop out with their own pent-up declaration of independence and dash off to explore the big world with reckless abandon. Ignoring the cries of "Wait! Stop!" from Gingerbread Girl, they scurry, lope, and leap away across the countryside. The Girl gives chase, but the herd flees through the landscape, soon chased by concerned bystanders--sheep, cows, farmers, a cat and dog, a flock of chickens, and a troop of Scouts in the woods. Their independence is admirable, but their impudence and lack of prudence--not so much!


I'M QUICK AND I'M NOISY.
I TRUMPET AND RANT!
YOU CAN'T CATCH ME.
I'M THE CRACKER ELEPHANT!

But we all know where this one is going--the danger ahead, namely a river too wide for baked goods to cross, and a feisty fox all too willing to offer to ferry them over at a price they are too naive to guess. Having lost her much-lamented brother, Gingerbread Boy, to that "Snip, Snap" fate, Gingerbread Girl knows she must make it to the river with a plan before her new friends meet the same, er, dead end!

Lisa Campbell Ernst's newest, The Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers (Dutton, 2011), is the latest in her cracked-up, fractured fairy tale creations, the companion book to her earlier The Gingerbread Girl. Ernst keeps the catchy cumulative structure of the traditional tale which will have kids joining in on the refrain, guessing the type of cracker by matching the rhyming word, providing a little language lesson along the way. With charming pastel palette, gingham-checked backgrounds and frames for the pages, and a gutsy girl heroine to the rescue, this tale is a fun run for the preschool and primary set.

Kirkus Reviews has its own serving suggestion: "The girl heroine, large trim size, catchy rhymes and repeating refrain make this one sure to be a popular choice for group readings...just don't forget the animal-cracker snack."

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