Review: The Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers by Lisa Campbell Ernst

gingerbread girl goes animal crackers

The Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers by Lisa Campbell Ernst

This second Gingerbread Girl book continues the story of the sister of the Gingerbread Boy who is much more clever than her poor brother.  She survived the fox and now has gotten a box of animal cracker pets for her birthday.  But before she can warn them about the dangers out in the world, they run off chanting: “We’re wild Animal Crackers, hear our fierce roar.  You can’t catch us, we’re off to explore!”  Soon enough, the animal crackers have attracted a parade of people and animals chasing after them.  Waiting near the river is the fox, who is eager to offer all of the crackers a ride across.  Luckily, the Gingerbread Girl is still clever and figures out a way for them to save the day.

Ernst’s story is a rousing success with clever rhymes, fast moving prose, and plenty of action and suspense.  The Gingerbread Girl is a sweet heroine who is creative and smart.  The update to the story is in keeping with the traditional tale, but fractures it just enough to be modern and fresh. 

Ernst’s art has a timeless feel to it.  With the gingham backgrounds to the textual pages, there is a country feel to the entire book that works well with its rural setting. 

A pleasing update to a traditional tale, this book calls for sharing animal crackers while reading.  But don’t save any for the fox!  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Dutton Children’s Books.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone–The Movie

Entertainment Weekly’s Shelf Life has the news that the film rights for Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor have been acquired by Universal Pictures.

Huge congratulations to Laini!  Here is her response in EW:

“My goal is always to write stories that readers will want to climb inside of and live in, and which – I hope – will allow them to just lose themselves in the page,” said Taylor in reaction to the acquisition. “It is a hugely thrilling prospect to think about Universal and filmmakers translating my world onscreen and giving it a second life in such a grand way.  I’m over the moon.”

And I will look forward to the second book in the series coming out in September, 2012.

BookPage’s Best Children’s Books of 2011

BookPage has announced their picks for Best Children’s Books of the Year.   Their list spans from picture books through young adult reads.  Many of my personal favorites are on the list.  Here are the titles:

Picture Books


Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet (my review)

Blackout by John Rocco (my review)

Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman (my review)


Brother Sun, Sister Moon by Katherine Paterson (my review)

Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld (my review)

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith (my review)


I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (my review)

Me . . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell (my review)

Stars by Mary Lyn Ray

Swirl by Swirl by Joyce Sidman

Middle Grades


The Absolute Value of Mike by Kathryn Erskine (my review)

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (my review)

Drawing From Memory by Allen Say (my review)


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Hidden by Helen Frost

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (my review)

Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley


Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt (my review)

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (my review)


Young Adult


All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin (my review)

Badd by Tim Tharp

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (my review)

Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones


Chime by Franny Billingsley (my review)

The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier

The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler


Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet

Trapped by Michael Northrop

What We Keep Is Not Always What Will Stay by Amanda Cockrell

Russell Hoban Dies


The Guardian has the news of Russell Hoban’s death.  Hoban is one of those authors whose book is a large part of my childhood.  First there as Bread and Jam for Frances, a book that has such a tangible reaction for me that I can taste and smell home when I pick it up.  We also read The Mouse and His Child again and again.  It was part of our breakfast readalouds that my mother did to keep us from fighting as we waiting for the school bus.  So this is particularly melancholy news for me. 

Death, Hoban predicted in 2002, would "be a good career move". "People will say, ‘yes, Hoban, he seems an interesting writer, let’s look at him again’," he said.

And so I will look at him again and I encourage you to too.  I want to return to The Mouse and His Child and also check out Riddley Walker, a book by Hoban that I missed and that the article says is his best known.