CAUTION: GINGERBREAD MAN X-ING!! The Gingerbread Man Loose at Christmas by Laura Murray
ONE WHITE SNOWY MORNING, I POPPED FROM MY BED.
"WAKE UP, SLEEPYHEAD!" I SAID.
THE CLASSROOM WAS DECORATED IN COLORED LIGHTS,
TWINKLING IN REDS, GREENS, AND WHITES.
The fall semester is swinging into winter. The class has completed their study of Community Helpers, and Teacher has an idea that will morph that unit right into the holiday season.
"IT'S THE SEASON FOR GIVING
AND WE CAN GIVE, TOO.
OUR GIFTS SHOULD BE SOMETHING
WE MAKE, SAY, OR DO!"
The teacher has the kids busy making seasons greeting cards or treats for those community helpers--the police lady, the librarian, the garbage collector, and the rest--who they have visited with or who have visited them in their classroom, and then they'll take a walking field trip downtown to see the town decorations and deliver their cards in person. What festive fun!
The Gingerbread Man makes his own special card for the baker who baked him, but he gets separated from the group as they hike toward town. But after all, he's the Gingerbread Man, and gingerbread men are especially good at running--running away, in his case. A slushy snow is falling, and he knows the damp is a danger to crispy cookies, but still, he IS a mighty Gingerbread Man.
“I’LL HOBBLE RIGHT OVER, AS FAST AS I CAN.
Gingerbread Man is one tough cookie, but as he trudges through the wet snow, he notices that his feet are getting seriously soggy. But at last he spies the sign he's seeking: BAKE SHOP.
And when he slogs inside the shop, the baker notices his problem immediately and has a quick fix for crumbling feet. It so happens the baker has a pot of melted chocolate all ready to decorate some goodies, so like the helper he is, he dunks the Gingerbread Man's tootsies in a quick dark chocolate dip for his trip, giving him galoshes that definitely won't melt on the way back to school.
"THAT'LL KEEP YOUR FEET COZY AND LOOK REALLY COOL!"
Laura Murray's third story of the Gingerbread Man, The Gingerbread Man Loose at Christmas (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2015) has the class mascot getting into his usual runaway scene, all set in jolly rhyming couplets with speech balloons to boot, while artist Mike Lowery sets off the story in comic book-style panels, all bright with the symbols of the season-- tinsel-wrapped trees, candy cane stripes, and Santa Claus caps--and concluding with a special card for their teacher:
"NOW THAT WE KNOW THAT WE'RE SMART COOKIES, TOO,
WE MADE YOU A SUPER GIGANTIC "THANK YOU!"
"...The smart cookies who appreciated the character's previous adventures will eat this one up," says School Library Journal.
Other stories is this series are the classic first-day-of-school story, The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School (see my 201l review here) and the field trip tale, The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck.