Catch That Cookie!
When my son Marshall was four, he brought home a gingerbread-man recipe from school during holiday time. Six months later, when it was 95 degrees and time for the end-of-the-year school picnic, he very badly wanted to make those gingerbread men. And so by picnic time we had an army of fine-looking gingerbread men—ready to be devoured! We got in our mini-van and that’s when Marshall told me I had to lock all the doors. He was afraid the cookies would run away . . .
I wondered what his teacher could have done at school to make him so sure that the cookies could really run. And then she told me about the Annual Gingerbread Cookie Hunt that she does with her class. So that December I went along with them for “research” and was inspired to write CATCH THAT COOKIE! I guess it’s not really surprising that it turned out to be a story about believing in magic, because I absolutely do.
I’ve been lucky enough (as Holly McGhee) not only to be illustrator David Small’s agent, but also his friend. And now that I get to work on a book with him (under my pen name, Hallie Durand), I feel like a dream I didn’t know I had is coming true.
"Durand has written a delightfully ingenious story with an altogether appealing protagonist in Marshall. The icing on the cake—er, gingerbread—is Small’s wonderful pictures, created in pen-and-ink and watercolor, fill single- and double-page spreads. A wonderful draughtsman, Small uses a fluid line that adds energy to an already lively story and further invests it with wit and whimsy. All of these ingredients combine to make a truly tasty tale."
—Starred review, Booklist (Michael Cart)
"Marshall, a serious-minded preschooler, knows that gingerbread men “can’t run for real.” But when his class bakes a batch, they disappear from the oven, leaving a rhyming clue to their whereabouts. A treasure hunt ensues, with more clues (“You thought we might be slow ’cause we’re only made of dough”); the little guys end up asleep in a doll bed—for the moment. In Small’s spirited illustrations, the children, their teacher and the “G-men” all burst with spice and verve."
—The New York Times Book Review (Maria Russo)
"As a fun story with excellent illustrations, this is a must-have title for any library."
—Starred review, Library Media Connection
"The text is enlivened with an unassuming wit, and Marshall is an endearing figure as the young detective on the gingerbread case. Durand and Small play a clever game here, too, with a sequence of events that could still be Marshall’s teacher outsmarting Marshall, but with Marshall’s dad witnessing the gingerbread men running amuck in his rear-view mirror. . . . Ultimately, the book cunningly manages to celebrate both Marshall’s critical analysis and the magic of free-running cookies. Yum."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Children in day care and elementary classes will see themselves in Small’s sensitive and hilarious watercolor, ink, and colored-pencil renderings of Durand’s December drama . . . The upbeat narrative moves quickly and offers audience participation . . . Small interprets this race to outsmart a sly opponent with lively lines, flexible figures, humor, and deep respect for his protagonist. Add this to your small shelf of truly special seasonal explorations of belief, but don’t wait for a holiday to share it!"
—School Library Journal“
"Durand (Mitchell Goes Bowling), a pseudonym for agent Holly McGhee, understands elementary-school culture and cuisine: “Marshall put some good stuff on his gingerbread man—a silver-ball belt and six eyes (he really liked raisins.)” With characteristic energy, Small (One Cool Friend) uses bold lines, liberal swaths of wash, and wry humor to draw Marshall’s school and his stylish teacher: “Kudos, Marsh,” she says, after Marshall struggles with the big bowl and spoon. ‘You rocked that dough.’"
"Young readers will enjoy the rhyming clues. The continued clues have the children chasing the cookies. And by all accounts, the gingerbread men are excellent at clues and running. . . . A delightful children’s book featuring the importance of baking and believing."