Cora Lee Merriweather runs the best bake shop in town, but no one notices her, just her delicious cakes. When she dies others try to buy the shop but she gets angry and scares them away. When Annie Washington buys the shop she confronts the ghost trying to figure out why she is haunting the place. Annie tries to bake a cake that will please Cora Lee but none of her recipes seem to be good enough for her. When Annie runs out of recipes she comes up with a surprising solution to the problem. See how Annie’s act of kindness transforms Cora Lee from a unhappy ghost with a “lemon-pucker” mouth to a ghost with a big smile. Sometimes it is the small things that make the biggest difference.
The book incorporates smells, sounds, and colorful descriptions. While reading the book aloud, I changed my voice with the different characters who bought Ms. Merriweather’s shop. Annie changes in the story as she learns to respect the ghost’s opinion. The two slowly become friends which allows Annie to figure out how to help the ghost.
The author, Jacqueline Ogburn, said she came up with the story after listening to Charlie Daniels song, The Devil Went Down to Georgia, and that she used a common folktale motif of a ghost or spirit dueling with a mortal.
Marjorie Priceman’s illustrations in watercolor are detailed and reminiscent of Ludwig Bemelmens pictures in his Madeline series. The setting is somewhere in Europe and the buildings reminded me of France. She captures the energy of the grumpy ghost driving people out of her shop.
Other books like this are: Fergus and the Night-Demon : an Irish Ghost Story, by Jim Murphy ; illustrated by John Manders and The Perfect Pumpkin Pie, by Denys Cazet.
Reading Level 3.6