About the Holiday
Instituted in 2007 by the Encouragement Foundation at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, today’s holiday entreats us to cheer on our friends, coworkers, and even those we don’t know as they attempt to reach goals or start new endeavors. A pat on the back, a simple “you can do it!,” or a reassuring “great job!” boosts people’s self-confidence and makes the world a happier place.
Written by Kate Louise | Illustrated by Grace Sandford
Although one gingerbread man in the bakery looks like all the others, there is one important difference. Yes, the batter had “eggs and cinnamon and flour and butter and sugar—but wait! The baker forgot to add the ginger!” Without this signature ingredient the gingerbread man just doesn’t feel like a gingerbread man at all. In fact his whole life has been turned upside down. He’s different from his friends, and what’s worse, he can’t be sold. Instead, he lives in the back of the bakery and in his sadness makes all kinds of mischief.
The gingerbread man chases the cat, splatters icing on other cookies, and squirts icing on the walls. “‘I need that for my cupcakes!’” the baker yells, but the gingerbread man just laughs. He moves on to the decorative candies, stuffing them in his mouth as fast as he can even though the baker needs them for his other treats and stands by tapping his foot. Next the gingerbread man scatters sprinkles all over the counter and slips and slides along on his belly—“‘woohoo!’” But the baker is not amused. “‘I need those for the donuts!’” he shouts.
Finally, the baker has had enough. Not only is the gingerbread man upsetting the other gingerbread men and women, he is ruining the business. The baker orders the gingerbread man to leave the store. But this is one gingerbread man that does not want to run away. “‘I don’t want to leave!’” he cries. The baker relents. He takes the little cookie in hand and teaches him that even though he is missing an ingredient he can still be kind. The baker shows him by being nice he can become one of the group.
Now, the little gingerbread man is happy. Instead of gobbling up all the candy, he helps create the other cookies. He no longer shoots icing on the walls or flings sprinkles around the kitchen. Rather, he helps the baker decorate the cupcakes and the donuts. He’s even learned how to sift flour and roll out dough, and he uses the cookie cutter to make new friends. And he never forgets to add the ginger!
Grace Sandford’s bakery gleams with the golden hues of fresh-baked bread, the festive colors of sprinkles and icing, and the sparkle of sugar. Kids will love the vibrant pictures of cupcakes; lollypops; stacks of cakes, donuts, and candy; and decorated gingerbread houses surrounded by cookie forests. Her expressive gingerbread men and women register dismay at the wayward gingerbread man’s shenanigans and joy at his kindness. And the hero of the story? When he leaves behind his impish pranks he becomes a charming baker’s companion, sifting clouds of flour, running on the rolling pin to flatten dough, and passing out sugar-shiny gumdrop buttons to his new friends.
Young children will ask for this fun and funny read over and over. Tough Cookie makes an especially delicious accompaniment to an afternoon of baking or decorating gingerbread houses!
Ages 3 – 6
Sky Pony Press, 2015 | ISBN 978-1634501972
Read an interview with Kate Louise!
View the colorful world and signature style of Grace Sandford’s artwork on her website!
Read an interview with Grace Sandford!
Gobble up this Tough Cookie book Trailer!
Gingerbread Decorating Activity
Gingerbread Kids Decorations
Way back in the past when gingerbread was new it was creatively iced and used to decorate windows. You can make decorations for your home or room with this easy craft!
- Printable Gingerbread Girl and Boy Template
- 2 Brown foam sheets
- White paint (or any color you like)
- Glitter in two colors
- Paint brush
- 2 Small heart buttons (optional)
- Mounting squares (for mounting)
- Thread and needle (for optional hanging)
- Cut out gingerbread girl and boy
- Trace gingerbread girl and boy on brown foam sheets
- Cut out gingerbread girl and boy
- Paint around the edge of the gingerbread boy and girl with the white paint
- Add trim to the edge of the gingerbread girl’s dress
- Add socks to the gingerbread boy
- Add buttons
- Add faces
- Paint the hands of each figure with the paint
- Sprinkle glitter on the hands to make mittens
- To use as decoration attach mountable squares or with a threaded needle make a hole in the top of the figures and tie the thread to create a hanger.