I learned how to bake by watching and assisting my mom and my aunt. At first, I was only allowed to sit on a tall stool near the counter, watch closely, and call out the next step or ingredient from the recipe (and sneak a small finger-full of dough). In time, I was trusted to measure out the flour or the butter and learn the art of cracking an egg one-handed. Eventually the day I waited for came.
Mom said I could choose whatever cake or batch of cookies I wanted to bake–all by myself. I’m telling you, that moment was big for me. My first cake was a two-layered, strawberry shortcake filled with fluffy, whipped cream and thin-sliced strawberries. Yes, my cake leaned precariously to one side. Yes, some of the strawberries slid downhill. Yes, my parents made a beautiful fuss, telling me how delicious it was and asked for seconds.
The point of my mini-story is that the success, or lack thereof, of that first cake, didn’t deter me from baking more cakes until I was happy with the outcome. I’m rather surprised I don’t tip the scale, considering how much I love to bake and cook.
Today’s picture book is about a vacant bakeshop, once run by the best baker in the state who created many scrumptious delicacies. The story tells the tale of different bakers who come and flee from the shop, claiming the place is haunted by the ghost of the original owner until…
One day, a spirited chef named Annie Washington arrives who is not frightened off by a few flying bags of flour or countless eggs dropped over her clean floor by a cranky ghost. If Annie wants to stay and never again be bothered by the ghost, she must fulfill a curious request. You’re, no doubt, wondering what the ghost ask Annie to do. So, to that question,
I have a special surprise for you at the end of this post.
Title – The Bakeshop Ghost
Author – Jacqueline Ogburn
Illustrator – Marjorie A. Priceman
Published by – Houghton Mifflin Books – 2005
Suitable for ages – 4-8
Topics – Determination, friendship, and cake – Oh, yes! LOTS OF CAKE!
Opening – Miss Cora Lee Merriweather ran the best bakeshop in these parts–maybe even in the whole state! The chocolate in her Mississippi mud pie was darker than the devil’s own heart. Her sponge cake was so light the angels kept wishing it would float up to heaven. No Birthday was complete without a Merriweather layer cake without her special buttercream frosting.
Amazon Review HERE – Cora Lee Merriweather had a lemon pucker mouth and hair scraped back into a hard little bun. Cora Lee also baked the best pies and cakes for miles. But now Cora Lee haunts the shop she used to own. When new bakers arrive to take over her empty bake shop, she scares them away. Then Annie Washington comes to town, and it seems Cora Lee has met her match.
Why I like this book— This is a story that, despite its high word count, will hold the attention of most children and delight them. In addition to the cast of colorful characters, strong plot, element of mystery, (and did I mention there’s a cake recipe on the last page?) the illustrations are off-the-charts colorful, emotional, humorous, and filled with scrumptious details.
Learn more about Jacqueline Ogburn’s books HERE.
Learn more about Marjorie A. Priceman’s books HERE.
And now for the special surprise I promised you.
I came across this lavish, short film, just over 17 minutes. that tells the story of The Bake Shop Ghost.
If you scroll down, you’ll find the comments box. Oh, how I love getting mail! I hope you’ll stop in to deliver a favorite baking memory or just say hello.
On Monday, if you visit, I’m sharing a bakery-inspired poem sure to please the most discerning sweet tooth!
I hope to see you then!