John Dough is about five feet tall and decorated to look like a fine Parisian gentleman. His clothes are of gingerbread, but his collar and shirt front are of white bread dough. Another lump of dough formed his necktie. His buttons are white lonzenges and his shoes are made of dough mixed with licorice. His face is a lighter dough mixed with pink food coloring. His eyes are glass, and his teeth are small white candies.
When he first came to life, John Dough possessed a great deal of knowledge, but could not apply it because he lacked experience. He could speak all languages, had a logical and clear mind, good sense, fair judgement, and a haphazard mass of wisdom.
John Dough was originally created by Jules Grogrande, the proprietor of Grogrande Bakery, on the Fourth of July. He was accidently brought to life due to Ali Dubh's Great Elixir, and when the Arab learned of it, he planned to eat John Dough bit by bit and thus gain the life-giving benefit of the magic liquid. John Dough wandered around town for a day, meeting several people including a boy named Ned Robbins and a woman who wanted to eat John. The gingerbread man also heard of Ali Dubh's plan to eat him, and later escaped America by clinging to the stick of a giant fireworks rocket.
The rocket flew all through the night, and the next morning it came down on the Isle of Phreex, where John met Chick the Cherub. He was taken by the Brotherhood of Failings to meet the Kinglet, who dubbed John a Knight of Phreex. He also met many other people, including a Diamond Maker who gave him three large diamonds, and Imar, the inventor of a successful flying machine. Ali Dubh followed John to Phreex and was imprisoned for a while. When he escaped, John and Chick fled aboard Imar's flying machine.
After a long flight over the ocean, they landed on the roof of the Palace of Romance, where the residents valued storytelling above anything else. Chick began to create stories of the Silver Pig of Dagupan which he told during the day. At night John and Chick searched for their lost flying machine. Eventually they found it and escaped the island.
The flying machine eventually failed, and they crashed on the Isle of Mifkets. There they met Pittypat the rabbit, Para Bruin the rubber bear, and a sickly Princess named Jacquelin and her parents. They encountered the Mifkets themselves and the creatures at first afforded John with some respect after he defeated Ooboo in a brief fight. Soon after that, Ali Dubh arrived on the island and allied himself with Ooboo. John was captured by the Mifkets and before he could escape Ooboo ate the fingers of his left hand. This gave Ooboo great strength and courage enough to challenge the King of the Mifkets and take the throne.
Sensing that his doom was inevitable, John valiantly gave the remainder of his left hand to the sickly Princess, restoring her health. When the Mifkets resolved to destroy John and his friends, Pittypat led them to the dam of the Fairy Beavers where they were given sanctuary. The King of the Fairy Beavers returned Jacquelin to her parents, who had escaped the island on a boat. Then he helped John Dough escape by cutting him into pieces and reassembling him beyond the reach of the Mifkets. The Beaver King called in a favor from the Flamingo People who carried John, Chick, and Para Bruin away from Mifket Island.
They landed briefly on Pirate Island where John gave up as ransom the three diamonds he had gotten from the Diamond Maker of Phreex. Then they flew on the island of Hiland and Loland where John was made king of the twin countries. (John Dough and the Cherub)