School Days: The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray
"I BEGAN IN A BOWL."
Lovingly but with lots of giggles, a class stirs up a batch of ginger cookie dough, rolls it out, and artistically decorates their gingerbread man. But just as he's being taken out of the oven, the bell rings for recess. The kids bustle outside, leaving the cooling gingerbread man hot to trot.
"I'M THE GINGERBREAD MAN AND I'M TRYING TO FIND
THE CHILDREN WHO MADE ME AND LEFT ME BEHIND."
But a couple of minutes behind, the poor cookie man has to hustle. He gets flattened by a loose soccer ball from the gym,
Coach retrieves it from the hall:
"GOOD GRIEF! IT'S A COOKIE!
OH, NO! HERE'S A TOE!"
Coach escorts the Gingerbread Man to the school nurse's office, where a bit of goofy glue repairs his foot--sort of.
"I LIMP AND I'LL LIMP AS FAST AS I CAN...."
Now more than a couple of more minutes behind his class, the Gingerbread Man gamely continues, taking a short cut by sliding down a banister. Airborne, he lands in the art teacher's lunch sack on top of a sandwich. Good humoredly, she takes her drop-in friend to the office.
Just as Principle Peacock is considering what administrative action to take, a group of kids come by, putting up signs with his picture and with a welcome message:
HE'S OUR GINGERBREAD MAN.
It's time for one tough cookie to return to his classroom and his class, where his kids get busy building him a gingerbread house, in Laura Murray's latest, The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2013). If you started school anytime in the past forty or fifty years, you probably have fond memories of your hunt for the runaway Gingerbread Man, a clever scheme of Kindergarten teachers to take kids on a tutorial tour of the layout and personnel of the elementary school, and this tall tale is a good way to introduce a preschool or Kindergarten class to this important rite of passage.
Other sweet schooltime treats include Murray's community helpers account, The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck and Joan Holub's The Gingerbread Kid Goes to School (Penguin Young Readers, L2).