Friday, December 19, 2014

Catch That Cookie by Hallie Durand, illustrated by David Small

Last August, when I was laying out the fall programs (and over-planning as I always do) I decided to add just one more storytime in December, the week after I usually end, because I hate to lose that Wednesday when there is no four year old kindergarten. I have a We Explore Favorite Artists and We Explore Nature program series, so why not We Explore Favorite Stories and indulge my love of introducing children to variations of a single folktale? Gingerbread Man of course, since it's close to Christmas.

I was very pleased to see a new Gingerbread Man inspired story arriving at the perfect time. In Hallie Durand's riff on the classic story, Marshall is skeptical about the Gingerbread Man stories; he knows cookies can't REALLY run away. But when his class bakes cookies....they disappear! Is the Gingerbread Man real after all? Marshall and his class go on a wild scavenger hunt through the school, following the clues their Gingerbread Men left behind, until they finally find their lost cookies - and Marshall finds a little magic.

David Small is back with his trademark style. The main characters, Marshall and his teacher, pop out of the landscape of faded figures as the rest of the kids chase after the gingerbread men while Marshall carefully considers all the facts. Marshall's school is washed with colors, orange, purple, green and more, contrasting with the black and white sketches of some parts of the setting and the colorful washes of Marshall and his activities.

I was inspired by this to add to our Gingerbread storytime our own scavenger hunt. I had the teens decorate brown paper die cuts of large gingerbread men and after storytime the kids went on a hunt to find the escapees. It was a blast! For the rest of our gingerbread activities, check out the whole program: Gingerbread Man storytime

Verdict: Although this is directed at older kids, it still works fine in a storytime if you adapt it a little. It's a fun idea for the holidays and of course Small's illustrations are always spot-on. Recommended.

ISBN: 9780525428350; Published 2014 by Dial/Penguin; Review copy provided by publisher; Purchased for the library

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