An attitudinally challenged gingerbread man gets a lesson in manners.
What do you call a gingerbread man if he’s missing the main ingredient: ginger? If you are reading this tale, you might call him naughty. Feeling as though he doesn’t belong makes this cookie act out in all sorts of ways, from squirting frosting on the walls and eating the candy decorations to spilling the sprinkles. Needless to say, the baker is not pleased, and he orders him to leave. But perhaps the gingerbread man can change his ways? “The baker teaches the gingerbread man that niceness comes from him, not from whether he has the right ingredients. ‘Being kind makes others feel good and will make you happy too,’ the baker says.” Now, instead of causing trouble, the gingerbread man helps the baker create his treats, making sure that the most important ingredient is never forgotten. Sandford’s illustrations, done from the cookies’ perspectives, help to leaven the story’s earnestness. They portray the gingerbread cookies with lots of personality and individuality. The titular tough cookie starts off with a dark cloud over his head, moving from gleeful destruction to sorrow to helpfulness and, ultimately, belonging.
A didactic take on the traditional tale. (Picture book. 4-7)