As she showed in her soulful The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon, Grey has a knack for reimagining nursery rhymes and other children's classics. This story of an independent-minded cookie alludes to "The Gingerbread Man," noting that "the life of a cookie is usually short and sweet." But fate smiles on Ginger Bear: he escapes being eaten by his baker, Horace, whose Mum interrupts every time he gets ready to take a bite. At bedtime, having missed his chance for a snack, "Horace put the bear in a little tin and put it on his pillow" for later. As sleepy clock faces strike midnight, Ginger Bear comes to life and bakes a crispy batch of bears for company, decorating them in carnival icing and dots. Poised atop a tower of cookbooks, Ginger Bear becomes the ringmaster of a culinary circus. But the festivities end abruptly with the arrival of the family dog who "liked cookies. (But not in a way that is necessarily good for the cookies.)" Grey doesn't sugarcoat her watercolor and mixed-media illustrations: she plays the cookie carnage for laughs, with sole survivor Ginger Bear overlooking a crumb-covered linoleum floor. The mock-pathos implies that cookies are meant to be eaten. No fox can catch this gingerbread man, though, whose recipe for a doughy rumpus calls for a bit of In the Night Kitchenand a dash of Where the Wild Things Are.Young readers should be pleased to discover how Grey allows her edible hero to spend the rest of his days. Ages 5-8. (June)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal
This edgy story has some British touches and a slightly arch tone that add a lovely fairy-tale flavor to it. When Horace makes a cookie in the shape of a bear, he can't wait to eat it, but then it is dinner time, then he has brushed his teeth, and there is nothing to do but put his gingerbread bear in a tin for safekeeping on his pillow. When Ginger Bear wakes up, there is no one to play with so he decides to bake himself some friends. He makes enough fabulously iced and decorated cookie bears to have a circus, one so thrilling that no one notices the approach of Bongo the dog. While the cookie carnage that follows might rattle a few tender souls, others will beg for a rereading of the crumbled cookie spread, and all will be satisfied by Ginger Bear's clever and considerably safer new career in a bake-shop display window. Wonderful art that matches the text in its ability to be comfortingly familiar and perverse at the same time pleases with a great many witty details and an appealingly varied layout. The nearly psychedelic illustration of Ginger Bear squeezing pink icing over rapturous cookies as the backdrop shimmers with sprinkles is a treat in itself. This is a tasty choice for fans of Traction Man Is Here! (Knopf, 2005) as well as anyone who's enjoyed the various retellings of "The Gingerbread Boy."
Susan MoorheadCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.