Catching a Sweet Treat: Our Favorite Gingerbread Tales #tbt

Throwing WAY back today, reaching into the oral tradition for a tale that is yummy!  At over 140 years old, this is the oldest Throwback Thursday title to date on the blog. “I’ll run and I’ll run as fast as I can, you can’t catch me, I’m the……”


Each Thursday I’ll be featuring a book that my parents *could* have read to me as a child (spoiler alert: I’m no spring chicken), so we will go with a publication date of 1988 or earlier; all books must still be in print as of my writing.

At the elementary school where I taught, our fabulously creative kindergarten teacher used to send her kids on a hunt around the school, chasing the Gingerbread Man using clues until they looped back around to their classroom where a treat was waiting. The library was always a stop on their hunt, and my older students who happened to be around when the kinders reached the library LOVED reminiscing about their own days chasing that crazy cookie. This sweet activity caused all of my gingerbread themed books to be checked out for weeks! Because it is a folktale, there are scads of versions. I’ve had a chance to read dozens, so today I’ll share a few of our favorites, both of my Preschool Bookworm, and of my former students.

gb boy

The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone. This version alone could quality for Throwback Thursday, with a publication date of 1975. This is what most of us would consider “the original.” A good starting point to introduce the basic tale to your bookworms.

gb baby

Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett. Jan Brett’s illustrations never disappoint. She is a prolific author and her website is full of wonderful freebies connected to her books, including coloring pages, videos, recipes, activity pages, and games.


gb pirates

The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup. For a Christmas themed version, this is a fun choice! These gingerbread pirates go to great lengths to avoid being eaten by Santa; the ending is a fun twist, too!

gb girl

The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst. I LOVE Lisa Campbell Ernst (especially Stella Louella’s Runaway Book)! This is the tale of the Gingerbread Boy’s “younger, wiser sister.” We love singing out the refrain together, and the ending is a fun twist, fitting for the female protagonist and heartwarming for the reader!

runaway pancake

Marsupial Sue Presents The Runaway Pancake by John Lithgow. We listen to the ebook/audiobook of John Lithgow reading on Tumblebooks (a subscription kids’ ebook site we access through our library. Check if yours offers it!). It is fabulous! If you can get the audio CD along with the book or hear his reading, it is well worth it! My two year old loves it, and my students up through 3rd grade as well.

gb cowboy

The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires. A fun southwest retelling, complete with javelinas, cacti, roadrunners, and lots of shouts of “Giddyup!”

The books mentioned above should be available at your local library, or at the Amazon affiliate links provided.

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