Written & Illustrated By: Elisa Kleven
Publisher: Heyday Books
Publication Date: September 2016
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: August 9, 2016
In 1875, in St. Nicholas magazine, a story was printed for readers called The Gingerbread Man. Although retold generation after generation, this particular tale did not have a happy ending. (For those who don’t remember, the Gingerbread Man met his demise because of the beguiling intelligence of a fox). However, in 2016 this new tale has arrived and definitely can be and should be used from now on for generation storytelling. The story is really nothing like the original; the author/illustrator has used her own delicious twists. She leaves readers with only happiness, joy, and an innate sense of desperately needing to run to Grandma’s house for cookies ASAP!
San Francisco (my favorite city, as well) is the background for this story. A young girl by the name of Shirley is getting ready to go to school when she looks around for a dessert to pack. Baking her own gingerbread treat to enjoy at lunch, Shirley, like most people who smell that amazing scent of gingerbread, just can’t wait and decides to take a small nibble off the gingerbread cookie’s thumb.
When noon arrives, she opens her lunchbox to find a very alive cookie boy who has eaten up her carrot sticks and other packed treasures. He jumps out and tells her he will not lose anymore ‘limbs’ (so to speak) and hightails it out of the school and into the city of San Fran with Shirley following after him. Some of the coolest sites of San Francisco are drawn here, as the Gingerbread Boy runs amok through the streets, snatching everything from lollipops to clams as he rides the cable car and raids the Heart of the City Farmers’ Market. He goes a little berserk when he states to Shirley that if she keeps trying to catch him, he will chow down everything from the redwoods to the Golden Gate Bridge. Shirley makes a deal with this treat and the ending is completely and utterly...sweet.
The author has done a fine job, even going so far as to add a page highlighting the San Francisco landmarks shown in the book and telling readers what they’re all about. There is also a scrumptious recipe to make your very own yummy gingerbread people. But...be careful. You may just make the magical ones that end up being far more than just a great dessert!
Quill says: This is a lovely, fun version of an old classic that should definitely catch on fast!