The Hungry Ghost of Rue Orleans
What It Is
This newly released title is about a ghost named Fred who happily “lives” alone in a run-down vacant house at 28 Rue Orleans in New Orleans. A father and daughter purchase the house, clean it up and open a restaurant. This makes Fred very unhappy. Once the crowds start coming in, he can stand it no longer and begins to moan and toss food about. The diners cheer, thinking the ghostly antics are a performance, and a finicky food critic gives the restaurant rave reviews. Realizing that his haunting doesn’t deter customers from coming, Fred decides to move out and “bumps” into the restaurant owner’s daughter who introduces him to her father. The three become friends over some freshly baked beignets that they name “Powdered Ghost Puffs.” The daughter shows Fred to a spare cob web-filled room that hasn’t been cleaned, and he lives there happily ever after, treating patrons to a show and enjoying warm Powdered Ghost Puffs.
Why It’s Fun
Mary Quattlebaum’s story is a “harmless” ghost story that is a fun read any time of the year. Patricia Castelao’s illustrations are like stills from an animated film, which successfully tricks the audience into imagining the story as a movie. Fred’s appearance is not at all scary and makes the story more of a comedy than ghost story. The book provides an excellent tool for teachers to use when exploring different regions of the U.S. with students.
Who’s Going To Love It
Unless your children are familiar with New Orleans, this book is best suited for kids on the older end of the publisher’s recommended age range. Vocabulary such as “cuisine,” “Cajun” and “critic,” will likely be a challenge for kids. In fact, I read the book to my daughter’s first grade class and only one student guessed that cuisine meant food. Of course, this presents teachable moments. Nonetheless, Ms. Quattlebaum’s book is a great book for Halloween, Mardi Gras or anytime.
About 5 minutes
7 out of 10
THE HUNGRY GHOST OF RUE ORLEANS
By: Mary Quattlebaum, Illustrated by Patricia Castelao
Published by: Random House (2011)
Approximate retail price: $15.99
Publisher’s recommended ages: 3 - 6