friday feast: noshing on A Cookie for Santa by Stephanie Shaw and Bruno Robert

What do you get when you combine one part Gingerbread Boy with one part “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”?

A delightful recipe for a joyous, rollickingly suspenseful foodie-licious story, of course!

Cleverly riffing on Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” Oregon-based author Stephanie Shaw has cooked up an original adventure featuring our favorite iconic Christmas cookie, who narrowly escapes becoming Santa’s midnight snack.


‘Twas the night before Christmas,
And there on a plate,
Was a Gingerbread Boy
Awaiting his fate.

The children had baked him
And dressed him with care,
Using currants for eyes
and icing for hair.

They knew that St. Nick,
With his overstuffed pack,
Would be sorely in need
Of a fine midnight snack.


As the Gingerbread Boy nervously awaits his not-so-sweet fate, two rambunctious puppies bound into the room and begin to pounce, paw, and tear the holiday decorations apart. The plucky Gingerbread Boy knows he must do something to save Christmas, so he quickly distracts those frisky pups by dancing and spinning atop a big red ornament. Employing all his best moves, he’s able to get them to settle down until Santa arrives. After he helps Santa straighten things up, he’s extremely relieved when instead of being eaten, a highly impressed St. Nick asks him to be Night Watchman at his North Pole toy shop.





Stephanie’s bouncy rhyming text scans beautifully and will keep kids rooting for this adorably smart cookie, who ultimately gets his one Christmas wish. The narrative gambols right along and her spritely rhymes and turns of phrase never lapse into predictability.


‘Come Rascal! Come, Rowdy!’
He called them by name.
‘I’ll show you a much better
Christmas Eve game.’

‘A biscuit,’ they barked
With howling dog joy,
‘And one that can talk.
It’s a Gingerbread boy!’

And what he did next
Made those naughty pups stop.
‘Look at me!’ Cookie cried.
‘I can spin like a top!’


Bruno Robert’s bold, action-packed illustrations effectively capture all the fun and frolic of this clamorous caper. Close-ups of the Gingerbread Boy’s worried facial expressions and his overall body language elicit reader empathy, while the perky, playful pups are suitably frenetic but quite lovable. Kids will enjoy the focus on the cookie’s point of view, and appreciate that such a small little guy was able to put aside his big fears without hesitation to save the day.


When the work was all done
Cookie climbed on the dish.
He looked to the stars
And made one Christmas wish.

Then he heard Santa say . . .


A Cookie for Santa has received glowing reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal and Kirkus, and has earned a Preferred Choice Award from Creative Child Magazine. It begs to be read aloud in the classroom or at family Christmas gatherings. What a wonderful addition to the holiday book shelf, especially for those who like their classic ingredients served up with a refreshing twist! Who could resist this tasty tale, a lovingly baked gem sure to be welcomed in all the best (and politically correct) cookie circles. ๐Ÿ™‚

Though I can’t personally guarantee that fewer gingerbread boys will be consumed as a result, I’m pretty confident kids of all ages will clamor for repeated readings. ๐Ÿ˜€

Stephanie reading at Sleighbells Gift Shop (Sherwood, Oregon).


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C – O – O – K – I – E – S ! ! !

Cornelius tries to comfort a worried gingerbread boy.

I asked Stephanie to share her favorite Gingerbread Cookie recipe, and she pointed me to this gluten-free one using Pamela’s Bread Mix. Seems more and more people are going gluten-free these days and this recipe sounds like it’s definitely worth a try. Thanks, Stephanie!



  • 3-1/2 cups Pamela’s Bread Mix
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 12 tablespoons butter or margarine, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons milk


Preheat oven to 350ยฐ. Use HEAVY DUTY STAND MIXER and paddle. In mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Add butter and mix well. Add molasses and milk, mix to combine thoroughly.

Divide dough and roll to 1/4 inch between two layers of parchment paper. Freeze for 15 minutes. Remove top sheet of each and cut out cookies and remove excess dough. Bake on parchment on cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes until edges begin to brown for soft cookies.

For crispy cookies, roll thinner to 1/8th inch and bake for 14 to18 minutes. Scraps can be rolled and cookies cut out again.

ยฉ Pamela’s Products, Inc.

He feels much better after reading the book!

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written by Stephanie Shaw
illustrated by Bruno Robert
published by Sleeping Bear Press, 2014
Picture Book for ages 4-8, 32 pp.
Cool themes: holidays, Christmas, baking, food, Santa Claus, animals, rhyming fiction

*Check out the cool Activity Guide at Stephanie’s website!

ETA: Read this fun interview with Mr. Pig at The Little Crooked Cottageย and enter for a chance to win a signed copy!

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poetryfriday180Paul Hankins is hosting today’s Roundup at These 4 Corners. Scamper over and check out the full menu of poetic treats being served up in the blogosphere this week. Enjoy your weekend, a good time to make Gingerbread Boy Cookies. ๐Ÿ™‚

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wkendcookingiconThis post is also being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food related posts. Put on your best bibs and come join the fun!




* Spreads posted by permission of the publisher, text copyright ยฉ 2014 Stephanie Shaw, illustrations ยฉ 2014 Bruno Robert, published by Sleeping Bear Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright ยฉ 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.



55 thoughts on “friday feast: noshing on A Cookie for Santa by Stephanie Shaw and Bruno Robert

  1. There are too many wonderful Christmas books to have, Jama! And this looks like another wonderful one–a must have. “Come Rascal, come Rowdy”-te he. So fun. I know a couple of little girls who will adore it. Thanks for telling all about this ‘new’ shenanigan on Christmas night…


  2. What rollicking fun! Thanks so much for sharing, Jama. Looks like one of those “Read it again!” books! And, who enjoyed this post more – you or Mr. Cornelius? He seems quite invested….


    1. LOL — We both had fun with this post, Robyn, but you are very astute in observing that perhaps Mr. Cornelius had more invested. He of course always looks forward to photo shoots, but this time he was also buttering up Santa.


  3. Jama, this book and your sweet photos look absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for always sharing such wonderful books and recipes with your readers. I have a fun shout out to you on my blog today! = )


    1. Yay, you got the Emily necklace! Hope you’ll post more about your love for her poetry on your blog. Thanks for your kind words — glad you enjoyed this post. I love this book. ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. Love this Christmas tale, Jama! Thank you for highlighting it. I wrote a PB manuscript a while ago about a Gingerbread Man named Bob who had to tap into his inner Zen to deal with his fate – Santa ate him in the end… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
    I like Stephanie Shaw’s ending better.


    1. As much as I like gingerbread man stories, I’m always a little troubled by the endings where he ultimately gets eaten. So yes, Stephanie’s ending was quite a pleasant change. Now I’m feeling sorry for poor Bob . . .


  5. The picture of that frightened little cookie made me smile. I’ve been looking for a good gingerbread recipe to try, Jama. Thanks!


  6. Oh my goodness, how totally adorable! I forwarded that to my 29 year old son – he teaches 3 year olds in Brooklyn, NY and he LOVES books like this. Thanks for posting this.


  7. This is my first time to your blog- and I love it! So cute how the teddy bear poses. My fav is the one where he’s getting a cookie. I do that quite often too. =) I saw this book at the bookstore last weekend, in part of a holiday display. Such a sweet one!


    1. Hi Leandra! So glad you found Alphabet Soup! Since you’ve seen this book in person, you know how cute it is. Cornelius is flattered that you noticed him. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for stopping by for a visit.


  8. This book sounds like so much fun! I think I have to go hunting for it today. And I’m meeting a gluten free friend this morning, think I will definitely have to share this recipe. Thank you!


    1. It’s nice to have a gluten-free alternative when it comes to gingerbread boys. Hope your friend tries the recipe and that you score a copy of the book today!


  9. Your reviews are so enjoyable Jama – bravo! I have to read every book you review because they sound so enticing.

    (No, those are not gingerbread crumbs on my chin)


  10. I had such fun, Jama, reading this poem out loud to myself! Yummy recipe for gingerbread cookies, too. When my kids were young, we made a gingerbread house every Christmas – and cookies for the tree. Great memories!


    1. Love hearing about your fun family traditions, Tara. We never made any gingerbread houses when I was growing up. One of my aunts always made gingerbread boys, though.


  11. Yesterday when I might have been commenting, I was making the annual gingerbread men that adorn our tree…I love the mingling of Gingerbread Man and Night Before Christmas, and is that a little Cat in the Hat I detect there? Thanks for the big share, Jama!


  12. I’ll be looking for this book to read to my grandson after we make our traditional gingerbread cookies – thanks, Jama. And hooray for Cornelius!


  13. What a fun book! I would’ve loved to have read this to my kids when they were little. I kind of miss setting out cookies for Santa!


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