It's Day 24 of Picture Book Month -- betcha didn't think we'd get this far with our one-book-a-day project, didja? We're still going strong though, mostly because we make time to read every day and night, despite the busy-ness of a holiday weekend and all kinds of other things going on. After all, that's how you teach kids what priorities are, by finding pockets of time to include those activities no matter what. And it's not always easy to squeeze in opportunities to read, believe me, but we make it work.
Today's pick is guaranteed to produce some serious laughter from Sprout every time we pull it off the shelf. Books like this one make reading fun, which in turn furthers our goal of having daily family book time. It's interesting that given the chance, Sprout will almost always choose books that represent a wide spectrum of reading moods, from hilarious to introspective and everything in between. That not only injects a good amount of variety into our nightly reading routine, but it makes for plenty of opportunities to reflect on how books, like people, have very different personalities.
The book of the day, The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray, is a clever twist on a classic story. We love it because of that and also because of its theme (Sprout's nuts for any book set in a school). As the story goes, a class project results in the mixing of dough and baking of a gingerbread man. Gingie comes to life, but just then the class is called out to recess, leaving their poor Gingerbread Man behind. Undaunted, the Gingerbread Man heads out to find his friends. The route he takes gives him face time with teachers and even the principal. There are some dead funny moments here -- Sprout especially likes it when the Gingerbread Man ends up in the art teacher's lunch!
As Sprout's daddy is a big comic book fan, he appreciates illustrator Mike Lowery's technique of telling the story in panel form (anything to introduce Sprout to the mechanics of reading comics!). The illustrations are cute but not saccharine, with realistic backgrounds that give a peek into the world of elementary school. And the story is told in such a way that even the younger set will have no trouble following it, though you may have to explain who the various teachers are. Best of all, the resolution is satisfyingly funny, with the Gingerbread Man finding his place among the school children.
This would be a fun book to share at back-to-school time, particularly for kids just heading into kindergarten. We read it with an eye toward holiday baking time, and now Sprout cannot wait to make gingerbread men of our very own!
The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons