The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck

The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck Book CoverLaura Murray does a fantastic job with reinventing “The Gingerbread Man” tale in her picture book The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truckillustrated by Mike Lowery.

The gingerbread man is joining a class on a field trip to the firehouse. Upon arrival the gingerbread man falls out of the safety of the backpack and right on the snout of the firehouse dalmatian. The gingerbread man will have to run as fast as he can to keep from becoming a tasty treat for this pup.

What makes this picture book stand out from other re-tellings of The Gingerbread Man tale is its educational aspect. Readers get to see all aspects of the firehouse as the gingerbread man hides in the firetruck cab, shimmies up the fire pole, and bounces over the beds where the firemen sleep. The gingerbread man gets an extra adventure when he winds up going along with the firefighters as they are called to put out a barn fire.

Mike Lowery’s illustrations are comic-panel style with clean lines and simple details. Murray’s text is a joy. Familiar Gingerbread Man rhymes that have been updated to suit the purpose of the book: “I’ll ride to the rescue as fast as I can. I want to help, too! I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

Great for any fire truck lover or those who enjoy classic/modernized folktales. As an added bonus, the book comes with a fire safety poster.

The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Firetruck by Laura Murray, illustrated by Mike Lowery; Ages 3-6; G.P. Putnam’s Sons (Penguin)

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Newbery Titles to Try

We look forward with great excitement every year as the Newbery and Caldecott winners are announced, but it’s also a pleasure to read (or re-read) past winners.  Cecilia tells us about a few of her favorites:

If you like historical books or old-fashioned classics, try…

Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs

invinciblelouisaThis biography of Louisa May Alcott reads like a novel, and even if you haven’t read Little Women, you’ll be drawn in by the story of this author’s struggle with poverty. Alcott had an unconventional childhood moving from place to place with her family, and her early writing attempts, games with her siblings and schemes to earn money are all detailed here. A timeline and index are included and the lovely cover by Jane Dyer is a nice additional touch.  Little Brown Books for Young Readers, $7.99

The Good Master by Kate Seredy

goodmasterThe plains of Hungary are the backdrop for adventures in this tale of cousins Jancsi and Kate. Jancsi has low expectations for a girl when he hears that cousin Kate is coming from the city, but he soon learns that she is an energetic tomboy with the same enthusiasm for horses, village fairs and gypsies as himself. The regional customs of Hungarian ranchers are depicted in loving detail and Kate in particular is a bright, engaging character.  Puffin, $5.99

Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer

rollerskatesKate would find a common spirit in Lucinda Wyman, the protagonist of Roller Skates. Set in New York City of the 1890s, it follows Lucinda through a year of living with family friends, as she struggles with her prim-and-proper cousins, experiences thrills and disappointments and makes friends with everyone from policemen to tramps to fruit sellers. References to unfamiliar things like hansom cabs and pinafores go hand in hand with games of theater and dress-up that children still love today. A great read for lovers of old-fashioned classics like Anne of Green Gables or the Little House series.  Viking Penguin, $5.99

If you like folklore and fantasy, try…

The Moorchild by Eloise McGraw

moorchildMoql is half Moorfolk and half Human without key Folk traits such as the ability to shape-shift or disappear. As a result, she is banished and sent to live among humans as a changeling named Saaski. In the human world, she also faces rejection from the villagers who fear her differences. The only place she feels safe and at home is out on the moors, playing her bagpipes. As she grows up and slowly comes to understand the tangled relationship between the Folk and the humans, she becomes determined to find the real child of her human parents and bring her home. This is a great read for fans of Franny Billingsley and other authors who write fantasy based on folktales and legends.  Aladdin, $6.99

The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope

perilousgardAn ambitious mix of history, ballad lore and fantasy, this story begins with Kate Sutton being exiled to the remote castle known as the Perilous Gard. There she gets pulled into a series of encounters with the Fairy Folk who live underground and eventually must use what she knows of the Tam Lin ballad to save her friend Christopher, as well as decide what she truly wants her life to be. This is a slightly creepy adventure with a strong heroine and wonderful details of fairy lore and legend.  Sandpiper, $6.99