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From Booklist—A starred review *
* The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School. By Laura Murray. Illustrated by Mike Lowery.
The Gingerbread Man heads to school in this delightful reshuffling of the traditional tale. Here, the Gingerbread Man pops out of a classroom oven, but just as he is about to join the students, the children leave—and leave him behind. Told in spot-on, deadpan rhyme and illustrated in large, comic-book-style panels, this title wil lleave kids giggling as they follow the sometimes dire consequences of the G-man's efforts to be reunited with his class: being run over by a soccer ball; needing to have his toe reattached by the school nurse (“I'll limp and I'll limp, as fast as I can”); and finding himself in the art-teacher's lunch sack. Finally, the principal shows the Gingerbread Man that his class hadn't deserted him; they'd just gone out to recess and are now eagerly awaiting his return. The've even made him a gingerbread house! This reinvention of a venerable figure is funny to the max.
From School Library Journal
PreS - GR 2: This comic-style story is told from the gingerbread man's point of view. Just as the timer dings and the cookie that the kids made is pulled out of the oven, the teacher calls “RECESS!” and they all run off. Readers follow the gingerbread man's journey to look for the children, told in rhyming couplets, as he encounters the gym teacher, the nurse (who mends his broken toe), the art teacher, and the principal. Eventually, he rejoins the students and is declared an official member of the class, complete with his own desk, chair, and cottage.
With a little practice to get the beats just right, the text can be easily read aloud, and youngsters can be invited to chime in on the refrain: “I'm the Gingerbread Man and I'm trying to find, / the children who made me, / but left me behind.” A variety of fonts is used to indicate differences between speakers and the narration. the cartoon illustrations are primitive in style, but suit the story to a tee.
—Maggie Chase, Boise State University, ID
“In Murray's children's debut, when a gingerbread man made by schoolchildren gets left behind at recess, he decides he has to find his class: 'I'll run and I'll run, as fast as I can. I can catch them! I'm their Gingerbread Man!'”
And so begins his rollicking rhyming adventure as he runs, limps, slides and skips his way through the school, guided on his way by the friendly teaches he meets. Flattened by a volleyball near the gym, he gets his broken toe fixed by the kindly nurse and then slides down the railing into the art teacher's lunch. Then it's off to the principal's office, where he takes a spin in her chair before she arrives. “The children you mentioned just left you to cool. They're hanging these posters of you through the school.” The principal takes him back to the classroom, where the children all welcome him back.
The book's comic-book layouts suits the elementary-school tour that this is, while Lowery's cartoon artwork fits the folktale theme. Created with pencil, screen printing and digital color, the simple illustrations give preschoolers a taste of what school will be like... “Teachers looking for a new way to start off the school year will eat this one up.”
“In Murray's first children's book, a spry, role-reversing story told through comic-book panels and buoyant verse, a gingerbread man is the pursuer, not the pursued: 'I'm the gingerbread man, and I'm trying to find the children who made me, but left me behind.' Cookie-related humor runs through both Murray's rhymes and Lowery's cartoons, as the gingerbread man—as dapper as he is determined—tracks a group of students through their school; after losing a toe, he visits the nurse:'“I'll limp and I'll limp, as fast as I can.'
The gingerbread man's introduction to friendly, identifiable school landmarks echoes the experience of new students.” Ages 5-8. (July)