A San Francisco Story

published by Heyday Press (Please see slideshow on my "Portfolio and Prints" page to view more scenes from this story.)

When Shirley bakes herself a gingerbread treat to bring to school, the last things she expects is for him to leap out of her lunchbox and begin gobbling everything in sight.  A wild chase ensues -- on foor and by cable car-- through iconic San Francisco neighborhoods.  When the gingerbread boy says "And if you try to make me stop, I'll swallow the sun like a butterscotch drop!" Shirley realizes she must rein him in -- not by eating him, but by giving him the affection he craves even more than food. 

"The images lend themselves to dreamy immersion into detail and a rainbow of colorful splendor. Children familiar with the original “Gingerbread Man” tale should enjoy the happy re-envisioned conclusion of friendship and baked treats.  While this picture book may seem to be just another addition to a San Francisco gift shop, the splendid illustrations, cultural diversity, and lyrical rhymes give it a wider audience.  -- School Library Journal

"Each spread radiates vibrant, multicultural life, and they are filled with curves, swivels, and diagonal lines to echo the gingerbread boy's riotous behavior.  A playful retelling of a classic folk tale, winningly illustrated. "  -- Kirkus Reviews

"In Elisa Kleven's retelling, the self-centered cookie is redeemed thanks to the faith and generosity of his friend Shirley.

Kleven's richly colored pages -- a blend of watercolor, ink, pencil, and collage -- overflow with detail, rewarding repeat readers. And the themes of forgiveness and kindness make it a terrific conversation-starter with young kids."  -- Common Sense Media

“A truly wonderful book.” --Ginny Golden, senior community library manager, Contra Costa County Libraries


"This is a lovely, fun version of an old classic that should definitely catch on fast!" --Feathered Quill 


"A fun and different spin on the old classic, The Horribly Hungry Gingerbread Boy: A San Francisco Story, is a delight. Told with heart and creativity, a great story about love, friendship, and adventure. So delightful.”   -- Mrs. Mommy Booknerd's Book Reviews

“The exuberance of this rhymed retelling is fun to read aloud and the pictures are a marvel to show to young readers. Kids can pour over the intricate street scenes and parents can enjoy the author's witty view of San Francisco.” --Dan Hess, branch manager, Fort Bragg Library


To see and learn  more about this book, please read this interview on Jama Kim Rattigan's delightful and delicious blog, Alphabet Soup! 

And listen to an interview about the book on Cover to Cover Book Beat by clicking here.

Kathie Johnston's quilts featuring the Horribly Hungry Gingerbread Boy and a few august children's book friends.
A few gingerbread collage children made by children
Jose-Luis Orozco, Elisa, and theGingerbreadBoy