cover image The Gingerbread Boy

The Gingerbread Boy

Richard Egielski. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-026030-9

In unembellished text and minutely detailed images, Egielski (Hey, Al) retells the story of a prideful cookie. This version finds a childless couple popping the Gingerbread Boy into the oven in their tiny Manhattan kitchen: ""He baked up nice and brown but so hot that he shot right out of the oven."" Impressed with his speed, and unmindful of urban dangers, the Gingerbread Boy yells his trademark ""Run run run as fast as you can. You can't catch me! I'm the Gingerbread Man."" A chase ensues--down a fire escape, across a laundry line and onto an uptown subway train. The cookie eludes a rat, construction workers and a policeman, but he's finally outfoxed in the Central Park Zoo. Egielski's Gingerbread Boy has a Gumby-like flexibility, while the human characters sport exaggerated grins, knobby knees and big hands and shoes. Some spreads have no words, just a wide-angle view of the frenzy. The author nicely balances words and pictures, and if the tale of unfortunate hubris ends badly for the Gingerbread Boy, there are more where he came from: tucked inside the front jacket flap is a recipe for gingerbread boy cookies. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)