The Horribly Hungry Gingerbread Boy: A San Francisco Story

For this gingerbread boy, it’s eat or be eaten!

When Shirley bakes herself a gingerbread treat to bring to school, the last thing she expects is for him to leap out of her lunchbox and begin gobbling everything in sight. A wild chase ensues—on foot and by cable car—through iconic San Francisco neighborhoods including the Mission, Chinatown, North Beach, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Will Shirley be able to catch the gingerbread boy before he eats up the whole city? Friendship is at the heart of this retelling of the classic folktale. A recipe for (non-magical) gingerbread treats is included.


“Kleven excels at framing her gingerbread boy's rampage within kaleidoscope vistas. 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


“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 reenvisioned conclusion of friendship and baked treats.”—Mindy Hiatt, School Library Journal


“A riot of color, whimsy, and fantasy.”—Joanna Kraus, The Mercury News


“This riotous romp told in rollicking rhyme is fun, magical, heartwarming, and like all of Elisa’s books, visually stunning.”—Jama's Alphabet Soup


“A wonderful newly imagined romp through a classic tale....The images jump off the page with vibrant reds, blues and yellows, free-flowing, fluid lines, and tons of detail snuck into every corner.”—Tricia Delloiacono, Critical Blast


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


“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


“This is a lovely, fun version of an old classic that should definitely catch on fast!”—Feathered Quill Book Reviews


“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


“This story takes a fresh twist, with a still naughty gingerbread boy, but one who learns his lesson and lives to make amends and have a friend. Splendid!”—The Write Path


Praise for Elisa Kleven's other books:


“Elisa Kleven has a soaring imagination.”—The New York Times


“Kleven’s story and art work in tandem to encourage entrance to the wide open world of self-expression.”—Publishers Weekly


“Kleven’s trademark collages burst with color and are brimming with details that make readers want to walk right into the pictures.”—School Library Journal

About the Author

Elisa Kleven

Elisa Kleven is the author and/or illustrator of over thirty books, which have received honors from the American Library Association, The New York Times, The Junior Library Guild, School Library Journal, Bank Street College, The American Booksellers Association, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, daughter, son, dog, and cats. Visit her website at