Gingerbread Baby

Jan Brett, Author
Jan Brett, Author Putnam Publishing Group $16.99 (33p) ISBN 978-0-399-23444-6
Board Books - 32 pages - 978-0-399-24166-6
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Brett (The Mitten; Comet's Nine Lives) presents a rather wordy and wandering version of ""The Gingerbread Boy."" Impatient for the gingerbread man to bake the full eight minutes that is specified in the cookbook, Matti opens the oven door prematurely and a doughy baby jumps out instead: ""I am the Gingerbread Baby,/ Fresh from the pan./ If you want me,/ Catch me if you can."" The cherubic child remains at home while his parents and a smattering of animals lead a cumulative chase through the Swiss countryside, depicted in minutely detailed pictures. Within the artist's characteristically intricate borders, windowlike cutouts shaped like gingerbread cookie cutters reveal Matti's activities at home: he bakes, constructs and decorates an elaborate gingerbread house, which he then places in a clearing in the woods. Well ahead of his pursuers, the fugitive cookie discovers the elaborate structure and happily takes refuge inside. The grand finale allows youngsters to lift a flap shaped like the gingerbread house to uncover its new resident, smiling and winking. Brett's fetching art offsets her rather facile narrative in a book likely to please her faithful fans and holiday gift shoppers. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
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