Sugar and spice and everything nice – that’s what these books are made of! Here’s a list of some of the best gingerbread man book variations for preschool-aged students. Better run and catch them while you can!
The Original Recipe – Gingerbread on the Go
The Gingerbread Man by Gail Yerrill
The original classic gingerbread man story comes in a baker’s dozen different varieties. Some end with the cookie’s demise when he tries to cross the river on the back of a hungry fox, while in other variations, the fox tricks the cookie by feigning difficulty hearing him. This one has cute illustrations and a thick cover, which is excellent to stand up to classroom wear and tear!
Extending the Learning: Using cookie cutters and paint, encourage students to stamp cookie-cutter patterns on brown paper.
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The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst
This story is a sassy and sweet follow-up to the original tale. The gingerbread girl is a smart cookie and, while she mimics her brother’s antics, she doesn’t come to the same terrible ending.
Extending the Learning: Using various shapes, set up a decoration station where students can decorate their own paper gingerbread people. For durability and reusability, laminate the pieces and place them at a table as a center.
The Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers by Lisa Campbell Ernst
In this delightful sequel, the Gingerbread Girl gets a taste of her own medicine when she befriends a wild bunch of animal crackers. But will she be able to save them from the wily, hungry fox?
Extending the Learning: Each animal comes with a separate poem, perfect for a guessing game! Read the first three lines of the poem to the class and let them guess what animal is speaking!
The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray
This smart cookie is on the loose in the school and is missing his students! What shenanigans will he get up to? Part of an entire series of Gingerbread Man Loose books, the author brings about giggles and smiles as the roles are flipped, and the gingerbread man is the one trying to catch the students!
Extending the Learning: Set up a scavenger hunt in the classroom, complete with clues around the school and gingerbread treats waiting for the students at the end!
The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires
This wild romp through the wild west features a cowboy twist to the original classic! Decked out in full cowboy costume, this spicy cookie runs away from a full cast of southwestern characters.
Extending the Learning: Lead students in a “compare and contrast” activity to discuss the two stories’ differences and similarities.
Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
Fans of Jan Brett know that her beautifully illustrated stories contain side panels with story clues. This story is no exception! Matti (from The Mitten) opens the oven to peek at the gingerbread before it’s done baking, and out pops a gingerbread BABY! Cleverly told with a twist at the end, the author uses new rhymes to freshen up the classic tale.
Extending the Learning: Encourage students to examine the side pictures on each page to see if they can predict the ending!
Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett
In a sequel to Gingerbread Baby, the sassy cookie wants to make some friends of his own. This time, instead of story clues, a recipe for delicious gingerbread cookies finds its way into the side panels. But maybe the recipe is a clue to the ending as well?
Extending the Learning: Make the recipe using the book as a guide to creating a tasty classroom treat. (As always, please double-check for food allergies and sensitivities in the classroom before starting any cooking activities!)
More Gingerbread Variations
The Gingerbread Bear by Robert Dennis
A woodsy theme is central to this variation on the classic. A loving mom bakes a gingerbread bear for her daughter…and readers can guess what happens next.
Extending the Learning: Try this super soft gingerbread dough in the sensory area with some cookie cutters!
The Ginger Pup by Maribeth Boelts
This easy-reader explores what happens when a gingerbread puppy escapes and runs about the neighborhood.
The Gingerbread Man 2: What Happened Later? by Stephen Dixon
A charming sequel to the original tale, the author continues the story to find out what happened after the Fox and the Gingerbread Man met their fate.
Other Runaway Foods
The Gingerbread Man isn’t the only food with an urge to roam! Try these different stories to the classroom “menu” for more variety!
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
This is a compilation of stories written for slightly older children. Even younger children will giggle with delight at the antics of the Stinky Cheese Man. As a whole, the story may be a bit much for one sitting as it explores other fairy tales as well.
Extending the Learning: At the beginning of the book, Jack (of Beanstalk fame) struggles with the Table of Contents. It may help to introduce the sections of the book to younger readers so they can fully appreciate the humor.
Senorita Gordita by Helen Ketterman
In another southwestern adaptation of “The Gingerbread Man,” the author skillfully immerses the reader in a bilingual chase of a naughty gordita – a fried cornbread cake. Students love the repeating phrase “with a flip, and a skip, and a zip-zoom-zip!” The author uses both the Spanish and English language interchangeably, making this book fantastic for introducing some new vocabulary and a new language to young learners.
Extending the Learning: Yet again, there’s a recipe for gorditas in the back of the book, as well as a glossary for exploring the Spanish words. It sounds like a fiesta in the making! Pair with the Runaway Tortilla for a double dose of fun.
The Runaway Tortilla by Eric A. Kimmel
Much like Senorita Gordita, this little tortilla escapes the couple that bake her up to serve at their taqueria. The sassy tortilla runs away from all the creatures she passes, only to fall for a sneaky coyote’s ruse!
Extending the Learning: Listen to the story read by the author here! This book also reinforces counting to 6 as the tortilla runs past different characters.
The Runaway Rice Cake by Ying Chang Compestine
In this tale, it is Chinese New Year, and the Chang family has little to eat. Their only rice cake runs away, much like the gingerbread man. However, this story has a sweet, compassionate ending as the young boy shares the uncooperative rice cake with an old woman. Don’t worry; there’s a happy ending!
Extending the Learning: As with many of these books, there’s a recipe at the end to try the food that stars as the main character. Adding rice to the sensory table or learning about the Chinese New Year are also great extension activities.
Stop That Pickle! by Peter Armour
That silly pickle just won’t stop running because he doesn’t want to be a snack! However, other foods join in the chase and encourage the eventual captor to eat the pickle. There’s a twist at the end, though, and the pickle escapes to live another day.
More Gingerbread Activities
Tired of chasing your snack? Need to “spice” up the day a little bit more? Try these sweet activities!
Check out the Gingerbread Unit!
Still have a craving for cookies? Check out this Cookie Shop Dramatic Play resource!
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