What’s in Mina’s Book Bag?

June 30, 2009

When Mom came for Christmas, she brought with her my old book, The Gingerbread Man. It was love at first sight. Mina ran and still runs around the house chanting “Can’t catch me, I am the ginger man bread, I am I am!” That proceeded into one morning around 7 a.m.: “Mama, can we make ginger bread man I am I am cookies?” Hmmm… I need a recipe! Thank goodness for the Internet! I was kind of picky because I wanted one with real ginger, not powdered. We whipped up a batch and cut them into shapes. The same day, ironically enough, we were downstairs reading another book, an anthology of world stories, and another version of The Gingerbread Man popped up: The Runaway Pancake. It was in the book by Valeri Gorbechev called Silly and Sillier. Interesting, I thought, but are there any more? I googled the story and found a site appropriately called “The History of the Gingerbread Man.” 

I guess the story hails from Germany and was originally called The Runaway Pancake. When it hits England, it turns into The Runaway Johnny Cake, and, finally, becomes The Gingerbread Man when it crosses the Atlantic to America.

As I was on a Turkish book website one day, what pops up: The Gingerbread Man translated into Turkish. Curious as to how a rhyming story could be translated, I ordered it. The translated title: The Biscuit Man! Slightly different, but contains the same essence. It was an instant hit in Turkish as well and became the favorite story for Mina’s Turkish grandmother to read. Now both grandmothers can share the excitement, and eat the cookies, of the ginger man bread, I am I am. ~ Elif