Can't Catch Me? Catch That Cookie! by Hallie Durand
IT WAS DECEMBER AND MARSHALL'S CLASS HAD HEARD STORIES ABOUT RUNAWAY GINGERBREAD MEN ALL WEEK LONG.
MARSHALL DIDN'T BELIEVE A WORD OF IT.
Marshall is one of those kids for whom the literary conceit of "a willing suspension of disbelief" is not an option.
Still, he buys into the idea of eating tasty gingerbread men, so he pitches in to mix the molasses into the stiff dough, wielding a mean mixing spoon. His teacher, Mrs. Gray, shows the class how to roll the dough out and use the cookie cutters to cut out the little guys, and then she lets each student design his own. Marshall gives his cookie a martial belt with silver balls, and since he really likes them, he give his man six raisin eyes. Finally, the gingerbread men go onto the cookie sheets and into the oven.
But when the class comes back and opens the oven...
THERE WAS NOTHING INSIDE!
"THEY RAN AWAY!" EVERYBODY YELLED!
MARSHALL DIDN'T BUY IT. "THEY CAN'T RUN!" HE REMARKS.
Marshall is skeptical, but he goes along with the group and they find a note pinned to a door. Mrs. Gray seems just a little too excited as she reads the rhyming clue to the class. "Candy" leads them to "sandy," which their sand table definitely is, where they find another clue, and then another as they make their way down the hall toward the gym. On the way Marshall spots a clue of his own--an oven-crispy raisin.
Now Marshal begins to doubt his own doubt.
And then the clues lead them to the gymnasium, where Marshall discovers indisputable proof, a silver dragee from his gingerbread man's belt. And in the middle of the floor, there are tiny tracks, like those a gingerbread man might make, if a gingerbread man could make tracks!
Okay. Marshall decides just to get his head inside the game. If gingerbread men could get tired of running away, what would they do next?
"THOSE GUYS PLAYED HARD," MARSHALL THOUGHT.
"THEY'RE TAKING A NAP!"
And if they did, Marshall knows exactly where to find them, in Hallie Durand's brand-new Catch That Cookie! (Dial Press, 2014). Given that tracking down those runaway gingerbread men is a popular ploy for taking preschool kids on a tour of their new school, Durand's book is likely to get around schools as fast as her cookie dudes do. Caldecott-winning artist David Small provides the quirky details of the chase, with his dubious, red-headed and stubborn Marshall finally playing along with the pursuit for the fun of it--that is, until the cookies are discovered and come to their, ahem, usual conclusion, true to their folk tale tradition:
Now, what does the fox say? Oh, yeah!
Snip! Snap! Snout!
My tale's told out.