ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone Children's Book Review

Updated on October 24, 2011
The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone
The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone

The Gingerbread Boy by author Paul Galdone retells the traditional folktale about a childless couple who bake a gingerbread boy because they have no children of their own to love and care for. The gingerbread boy jumps up fresh out of the oven and with great speed and agility, runs away from everyone he meets... until he meets a wily fox whose wit is a match for the gingerbread boy's speed. The clever fox outwits the gingerbread boy by convincing gingerbread boy first that he can cross the river without getting wet, and then encouraging the gingerbread boy to climb on his tail, then his back, his head, and finally his nose. At the story's climax, Galdone summarizes the action this way:

Snip, Snap, Snip at last and at last he went the way of every single gingerbread boy that ever came out of an oven....

Galdone's retelling of this traditional folk tale uses simple and direct language that paces the story quite well without modernizing the story, using new elements such as a different modern setting or jazzed up characters. Galdone's version also preserves the original moral of the story and the dangerous trickster, the fox.

I love the story of the Gingerbread Man and grew up listening to a version where the gingerbread boy/man says:

"Run, run as fast as you can. You can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread man!"

Galdone's book is an appropriate place to begin exploring the Gingerbread Man folktale, since its approach is simple and traditional, down to the last detail of the medieval-like village in which the story occurs.

Folktales in Children's Literature

Folktales passes down from a storytelling tradition that emerged long before the general population of the world was literate. Hundreds, if not thousands of years before people read books or watched television, storytellers, or bards, wandered from village to village spreading news, gossip, and stories like the Gingerbread Man. As storytellers would wander from place to place sharing the stories they knew, they also adapted the stories they learned.

Folktales share common elements, such as repeated verses, which are easy to remember for oral retelling. Folktales may be mainly for entertainment purposes or may carry a moral message or theme. Though folktales and fairy tales are an important part of the body of children's literature, folk tales are appealing to audiences of all ages, and make a wonderful study for young performers.

The Gingerbread Man or Gingerbread Boy story has been adapted in delightful ways by a number of different authors. Jan Brett, in her exquisitely detailed illustrated version of the tale, titled The Gingerbread Baby, invents a main character named Mattie who, instead of the fox, captures the Gingerbread Baby through with an inventive and beautifully decorative Gingerbread House. Many of Brett's books and characters are Christmas or winter-themed. The Gingerbread Baby would be a lovely addition to any family's Christmas collection.

Adapting this Story in a Storytime Setting

We have recently been attending a high-quality family storytime program at the Chandler Sunset Public Library. The wonderful librarians at this library host a successful program by acting out almost all of the stories they read. They feel this is necessary because their large crowds of 40+ people every week are very young and they can't always see or hear a story book. To engage the children they use props and toys depicted animals and people in the story. The gingerbread man story could be acted out using people and/or plush animals to represent the characters in the story.

My new friend at the Chandler Sunset Public library shared a wonderful rhyming story called Flip Flap Jack that could be incorporated with a lesson plan using the Gingerbread Man story. Her friend, a storyteller in the Phoenix area, wrote this story and adapted it to a flannelboard version that the storyteller built while reciting the lines of the story.

This version, published in the Johnson County storytime newsletter, is slightly different, and a bit shorter:

Flip Flap Jack

There was a man and he was made of food.

And his name was flip flap jack.

His head was made from a pancake.

And his name was flip flap jack.

His eyes they were blueberries.

And his name was flip flap jack.

His nose it was a strawberry.

And his name was flip flap jack.

His mouth was made from bacon.

And his name was flip flap jack.

His ears were made from kiwis.

And his name was flip flap jack.

Related Gingerbread Stories

The Gingerbread man story has many variations in the world of children's literature. One I particularly enjoy as a lover of the desert southwest, is the Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires. Please read my review of this delightful departure from the traditional tale:


Submit a Comment
  • Ask_DJ_Lyons profile image


    9 years ago from Mosheim, Tennessee

    Very entertaining hub! Thanks!

  • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Augustine 

    11 years ago from Iowa

    That is so great! I wish every person could have a favorite storytime memory like that. It makes childhood sweeter!

  • Beth100 profile image


    11 years ago from Canada

    Wow! The Gingerbread Man was the first book that I learned to read on my own. I still have my original copy, and am still reading it to my 3 year old. He loves it as much as I did.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)