We all know and love the Gingerbread Boy and Gingerbread Man story originals, but what if I told you there was more than just those two versions! There are so many different versions out there, but today I am breaking down my top 7 most underrated gingerbread versions that you might want to consider the next time you do a Gingerbread Unit or Fairytale Unit! Reading so many different versions is helpful before asking children to make their own versions at the end of a gingerbread week or fairy tale unit.
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All of the activities shown comes from my Gingerbread Week Unit!
7. Gingerbread Girl
The Gingerbread Girl is one of my all-time favorite Gingerbread versions, but I only rated it 7 because I think many people are aware of this version. If you aren’t, definitely check this one out! I not only love this book because it is a version with a girl as the main character, I also love this book because of the ending.
Spoiler alert! The ending is such a twist and a show of female empowerment… the gingerbread girl out tricks the fox and is able to get away! The girls always love this version because they feel left out of the other books, which all feature boy characters. This is a great discussion launcher on the importance of having books that represent all of us. This also helps when students make their own versions, because they might want to do girls instead of boys, and they might want to have the gingerbread cookie win instead of being eaten!
6. Gingerbread Man Loose in School
This gingerbread man story version is also rated lower because I do think it is more well-known than some of the other gingerbread versions in this post. I love Gingerbread Man Loose in School because I like to do a scavenger hunt with the children. I hide a note inside the book that the gingerbread man has left the book and they have to go find him. The children then make wanted posters and hang them up around the school. The children actually believe that he is missing from the book.
Then a few days later, I hide the clues around the school and make sure that one of the students can find the first clue. After we have found the clue, everyone gathers up to walk around the school and find the other clues. The hunt ends with a gift at our principal’s office and a note that the gingerbread man went back to the book. This is always a favorite activity of the children, and they remember it year after year.
5. Gingerbread Baby
The Gingerbread Baby is definitely a must have if you are doing a gingerbread man story week or an author study on Jan Brett. Jan Brett does it again with the illustrations. Each page has a little sneak peek at what is happening in other parts of the story and what is to come in the coming pages. The storyline is a nice twist as well because at the end, the boy is able to catch the gingerbread baby by making a gingerbread house. If you can use food in your classroom, making your own gingerbread house would be a fun extension. Otherwise, the children can decorate their own on paper.
4. Gingerbread Cowboy
The Gingerbread Cowboy is a good version to include in your set because it showcases the gingerbread man in a different setting and with different characters, like a coyote instead of a fox. This is a great discussion on setting and the important role setting plays in a story. It also gives students an example for when they write their own gingerbread version, especially if they want to write a version with a different setting and with a different villain.
3. Runaway Dreidel
I love including Runaway Dreidel because many of the gingerbread man story versions can be associated with Christmas, because the gingerbread cookie is associated with Christmas. Runaway Dreidel is perfect to read close to Hannukah and give representation to some of the important Jewish symbols of Hanukkah.
2. Runaway Wok
Runaway Wok is another great example of keeping the same structure of the gingerbread versions but changing out the characters and setting for a Chinese New Year version! In this version, the wok is running away from a poor family trying to make food for Chinese New Year. However, the wok ends up getting food for the family and the family can then share their feast with others for Chinese New Year. I like this version because it leads to a fun discussion about whether the wok is a “good” character or a “bad” character. It is also great to showcase other cultures and holidays with this same pattern and style of fairy tale.
and the number one most underrated gingerbread man story is….
1. Stop that Pickle
Stop that Pickle! is by far my favorite and most underrated gingerbread man version. In this story, the pickle is running away from everyone trying to eat it. The pickle ends up tricking all the food that is chasing it by having the boy eat those foods instead of himself. Stop that Pickle is such a funny version of the gingerbread man, but it should be read after several other versions so that the children can really pick up on the similarities. This version definitely inspires students to write their own versions with different foods as the runaway main character.
Don’t just stick with the boring, more traditional, gingerbread man story versions! There are so many great versions to choose from! These versions will inspire your student to write their own creative versions of the gingerbread man!
Which of these books is your favorite? Got other favorite underrated versions to share? Let me know in the comments!
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