They mixed the dough, and Matti rolled it into the shape of a gingerbread boy. They popped him in the oven. Tick, tock. Matti peeked. Too soon! Out jumped a gingerbread baby!
"I am the Gingerbread Baby! Fresh from the pan. If you want me, Catch me if you can!"
The Gingerbread Baby ran around the kitchen. The door opened and in came Matti's father. The Gingerbread Baby ran out, shouting, "Catch me if you can!"
He ran by the cat. She sprang at him. They rumbled and tumbled, but the Gingerbread Baby came out on top.
The dog ran after him. The Gingerbread Baby climbed over the wall, shouting, "Catch me if you can!"
Matti stayed at home looking at the cookbook. He heard his mother and father yelling, the cat meowing and the dog barking.
The Gingerbread Baby ran into the barn. He raced across the goats' backs, singing loudly, "Catch me if you can!"
The Gingerbread Baby stopped at the well for a drink. Madeline watched him. Martha tried to catch him. But she was too slow.
He grabbed the girls' braids, tied them together and ran off.
At home, Matti stirred, mixed and rolled dough. He put it in the oven. "I will catch him if I can." Matti said to himself.
The Gingerbread Baby jumped into a farm wagon. A mama pig tried to catch him. But then he jumped into the air, twisted around and got away just in time.
"I am the Gingerbread Baby. I am quick. I am fast. I am clever. I am smart. No one can catch me!"
Now the Gingerbread Baby came to a bridge. All the villagers and the animals raced after him. So he jumped off, landed on a chunk of ice and floated down the river.
"Look at me. And what do you see? The best Gingerbread Baby ever!" he sang, and jumped ashore.
Excerpted from Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett Copyright © 1999 by Jan Brett. Excerpted by permission.
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