I do read-alouds for lots of school-aged kids, along with my regular preschool crowd. One of the books I had great success with the K-2 crowd is The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst. I have also read the sequel to kids, The Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers and love it. (Also, good opportunity to talk about sequels!)
I decided to read The Gingerbread Girl to the preschoolers as well, and they totally loved it. The Gingerbread Girl has a good rhythm to it, and the Girl’s catchphrase is perfect for crowd participation. I chose Mr. Cookie Baker to go with it because it is shorter and simpler, and The Gingerbread Girl is a bit longer.
For a craft, I cut gingerbread-people-cookie shapes out of an array of colorful paper. They did a wonderful job decorating their cookies with crayons. I used this craft a few times, as it’s easily adaptable to many stories. I also keep some extra people-shapes in my drawer. I find it makes a great emergency activity if you get stuck with a group unexpectedly — and it works for a variety of age ranges.