Each December I read as many Gingerbread stories as I can - comparing and contrasting each one to the "original". My students LOVE it, because a lot of the stories are predictable and seeing the silly cookie get eaten up by the fox makes them feel superior - THEY know not to trust the fox lol! They also love it when the cookie ends up outwitting the fox - yay for the underdog!
Here are the stories I read: (by the way, if you click on a link and make a purchase, Amazon will give me a a few cents - I save it up and buy books for my classroom! My students thank you!)
The Gingerbread Boy: This is the classic tale with the little old lady baking the gingerbread boy and using raisins for his buttons. This is the one we use as our "original" story and compare all the other to.
The Gingerbread Man: This version does not have a river, but it does have a little boy who opens the oven when told not to! The fox still gets the cookie in the end, after he escapes from a wolf and bear!
The Gingerbread Man: This is close to the original version, and the cookie does get eaten by the fox, but there is no river to cross. Beautiful illustrations AND a recipe for gingerbread cookies on the last page!
The Gingerbread Boy: This is a modern take on the classic! The gingerbread boy runs through New York City - being chased by a rat and construction workers among others! It ends in Central Park, with the fox gobbling up the gingerbread after tricking him while crossing a fountain!
The Gingerbread Bear: A National Park is the setting for this story, and the cookie is baked by a mom for her little girl. The gingerbread bear is eventually tricked by a Park Ranger (the little girl's father) and ends up being shared among the family, campers, a wolf and a chipmunk.
The Gingerbread Girl: One of my favorites! The gingerbread girl listens as the old couple talk about what happened to the gingerbread boy (her brother) as she bakes in the oven. When she gets out, she sets out to outwit the fox and succeeds! Plus she stays and makes the old couple happy and brings them lots of visitors!
The Gingerbread Cowboy: A Southwestern twist to the classic tale! The cookie is baked by a rancher's wife, and escapes from javelinas, cattle and cowboys before getting caught by a tricky coyote!
The Gingerbread Baby: I'm a sucker for this one, because not only does it have fabulous pictures (as always with Jan Brett books) but the Gingerbread Baby eventually makes it to freedom! The little boy in the story creates a gingerbread house for the gingerbread baby and saves him - which leads to a sequel that is also a must read!
Gingerbread Friends: When the Gingerbread Baby is lonely, his friend Mattie creates a gingerbread wonderland for him - complete with friends! The last, fold-out page is fabulous - I'm trying to think of a way to enlarge it and create a poster that my kids can actually put their hands on - they love the illustrations and want to pore over that page every time!
The Gingerbread Pirates: Warning! This one has Santa Claus, so if you're looking for a version that doesn't reference Christmas, this one isn't for you. On the other hand, I love the fact that the pirate captain is trying to save his cookie crew from being eaten by Santa! Not a classic version, with no fox or old lady, but still a must-read in my opinion - the ending is awesome!
The Gingerbread Kid Goes To School: In this version, a principal brings this cookie to school for his lunch, but he escapes and runs around the school! The kids love this one because it's set in school and the tricky person who catches the cookie is a kid!
The Gingerbread Man Loose In School: Love this one! Not only is it a school setting, but the gingerbread cookie doesn't get eaten in the end! This is a great one for a beginning of the year school tour as well!
Now that you have a bunch of stories to compare and contrast, here's a freebie Venn Diagram to use! Just click the picture to download it for free on Google Documents - I use the full-color version on my SmartBoard, and give the kids the b&w copy!
Check out my TPT store for more Gingerbread activities, including a few freebies like my Fresh Baked Number Bonds!