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The Bake Shop Ghost Hardcover – July 25, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3–The best cakes in town are made by Miss Cora Lee Merriweather, and when she dies, her ghost comes back to haunt the bake shop and harass any new owners until they leave. Years later, the establishment is bought by Annie Washington, the best baker ever to have worked on the Sea Star cruise ships. The ghost tries to scare this young woman into leaving as well, but to no avail. When Annie asks what she can do to be able to work in peace, Cora Lee asks for a cake so rich and so sweet, it will fill me up and bring tears to my eyes. A cake like one…no one ever made for me. Annie bakes one good cake after another but doesn't discover the right one until she does some research at the library. Finally, Annie produces a birthday cake, and her present to Cora Lee is to call the shop Washington & Merriweather. Annie is an African-American woman with pluck who uses intelligence and kindness to win over a grouchy ghost. Priceman's illustrations are charming, with dashes of color and humor and a sense of action in each one. The art surrounds the text on most pages, causing readers to feel immersed in the plot. With two such wonderfully strong female characters, this is a delightful story with a satisfying conclusion.–Elaine Lesh Morgan, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 1-3. Bakery proprietress Cora Lee Merriweather is a sour old spinster, and after death she haunts her shop to ensure that no one will fill her kitchen clogs. But she meets her match in Annie Washington, a pastry chef with cocoa-colored skin and a bold demeanor, to whom the badly behaving ghost proposes a challenge: "Make me a cake . . . like one I might have baked, but that no one ever made for me." In attempting to satisfy Cora Lee's discriminating sweet tooth, Annie finally concocts a successful recipe that blends compassion in with the standard batter. Caldecott Honor Book illustrator Priceman keeps things meringue-light, indicating Cora Lee's ghost with a few fierce strokes and filling the rest of each spread with lines and colors that swirl like ribbons of icing and suggest the expressive styles of Bemelmans and de Brunhoff. Read this irresistible tale alongside Patricia Polacco's Thunder Cake (1990) and Carmela and Steven D'Amico's Ella Takes the Cake (2005), and be sure to plan an activity that revolves around cake consumption (perhaps using the included recipe as inspiration). Mouths will water just as surely as hearts warm at the story's touching conclusion. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (July 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618445579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618445578
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,181,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Writer Jacqueline K. Ogburn recently received her 15-minutes of fame when Daniel Pinkwater read the text of her most recent book, The Bake Shop Ghost, on the Weekend Edition - Saturday program on National Public Radio. "Delicious" said Daniel Pinkwater. "It's a yummy book."

Because of the broadcast, Ms. Ogburn was contacted by composer Jonathan Schwabe about turning the story into a musical. The two collaborated on the project and the play premiered at the Maud Powell Music Festival in June 2007.

The book was also made into an independent short film by Lorette Bayle and is being shown at film festivals, both nationally and internationally. The Bake Shop Ghost film stars Kathryn Joosten as the ghost of Cora Lee Merriweather and Mary Anne Jeanne Baptiste as Ann Washington. It premiered at the Seattle Film Festival in May 2009.

A North Carolina native, Ms. Ogburn received a bachelor's degrees in English and Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. For ten years, she worked in New York book publishing, primarily as a children's book editor. She is the author of eight picture books. Her previous book, The Magic Nesting Doll, received a starred review from "Publishers' Weekly" and has been translated into Greek and Korean.

In addition to her writing, Ms. Ogburn worked as a speech writer and public affairs specialist for the NC Department of Cultural Resources and was president of a small non-profit press. She has also taught writing at several venues, including the Friday Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. She currently works for the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University in the Communications Office.

The Bake Shop Ghost combines her passion for stories and dessert. Her family's favorite recipe for birthday cake is the one included in the book. Ms. Ogburn, her husband and two daughters live in North Carolina, in an 85-year-old bungalow with too many books and a deaf cat.

Her website is at www.wincbooks.com.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Anon. on September 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
We have signed out this book several times from our local library, as it has quickly become one of my 7-year old's favorites. The abandoned bake shop, crusty old ghost and determined yet thoughtful heroine make for a very appealing mix. We also love the illustrations, which are somewhat expressionistic(?) and remind me of some of the books I used to read as a kid back in the 60's... It's a little bit longer than the average picture book -- which we consider a plus -- and engaging from beginning to end.

We recommend The Bake Shop Ghost as an ideal bedtime story, especially so for anyone who loves to bake. In fact, the story's cake recipe is provided at the end of the book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nana's book shelf on February 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I too ordered this book after hearing it read on NPR. I enjoyed the whimsical plot, watercolor and ink illustrations and the humorous characterization of Annie and Cora Lee. Annie's pluck and determination make for a satisfying conclusion. One of the central characters is a ghost so the book may not be appropriate for younger readers. Great book for 1st & 2nd grades.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William E. Ogburn, Jr. on December 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is an Email from my daughter.
Subj: Bake Shop Ghost in Hollywood
Date: 1/18/2008 9:27:43 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: deahlogburn@verizpn.net
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Dear All:
I spent three full days on the set of The Bake Shop Ghost film, and it was marvelous. The film was shot on the lot at Universal Studios, and I stayed at the Sheraton Universal City. The window of my room looked down over the studios. One of the producers came and picked me up and we drove into the gates onto James Stewart Blvd, past the bungalow where Alfred Hitchcock had his office.
It was filmed in the section called "New England Village" in a small interior courtyard space. It was crowded with nearly 30 crew members and another dozen people - actors and visitors. It's an indie film, with a small budget, and will be only 15 minutes long, but it was the full Hollywood set - huge lights, cameras, trailer with wardrobe and make-up, a catering crew, trucks with electronic equipment, ladders, and tools, very " young production assistants with headsets, iPhones and water bottles.
I finally got to meet Lorette Bayle, the director who obtained the rights from my publisher. She was the eye of the storm, but was focused and calm. Mostly, I spent time trying to watch as much as possible and stay out of the way.
The level of attention to detail was astonishing - I thought writers were obsessive, but we are amateurs compared to film people. They are extroverted control freaks.
Cakes were important to the story, and there were lots of them. There were at least a dozen fake prop cakes. There were 11 cakes for the tasting scenes, with doubles - yes, the cakes had body doubles. Ed, a lovely man who baked the cakes for the tasting scene, had a great story about the birthday cake.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Frank E. Almeida on June 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I have a two year old, a five year old, and a 37 year old (wife) who love listening to this story as much as I love reading it to them.

Miss Cora Lee Merriweather is the town baker extraordinaire. She passes away and the whole town cries knowing that her recipes are gone with her. "Corra Lee didn't have any family so the Merriweather Bake Shop was sold".

Several bakers eagerly attempt to set up their own shop on the old premises but are promptly scared away by the ghost of Cora Lee until several years later a feisty and determined young baker by the name of Annie Washington arrives to call the bake shop her new home.

This is a delightful warm story of friendship, and determination. The two characters don't budge an inch until Annie pleads to the ghost and asks what she can do so that she could have the place in peace. The challenge is on: "Make me a cake . . . like one I might have baked, but that no one ever made for me." Annie bakes and bakes never finding anything just right, until one day she finds something out about the ghost that leads her to make that one special cake that no one ever made for her.

The drawings and the colors are wonderful and they help give this story its warm glow. You will have lots of opportunities to make different voices from Cora Lee herself to Frederico Spinelli and all the other characters in between. There is nothing scary in this story and there is no stress on the death part. She just passes away one day. My five year old is into asking those questions but my two year old just loves the voices and the story in general right now.

Besides, if you are a dad, you can also get a Ghost Pleasing Chocolate cake out of the deal-recipe is included, and it turns out quite nicely.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Panchita C on April 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This one is a true gem! The drawings are fluid and very distinctive, with the storyline about how a ghost mystery is solved. However, I think this would be okay for most children over the age of 4 or so, it's not a terribly scary ghost story. It's more a story of understanding where angry emotions might come from, and the importance of being strong, smart and kind, as the brave baker is when she both stands up to the ghost but also makes an effort to understand her by doing some research (after other bakers have fled the haunted bakery in fear). The fact that the baker is both black and female is not part to the storyline, but will be noted by those who appreciate strong, positive images of non-white or female characters in the books they read to their children.

This would be a great story for teachers, librarians, or parents to read aloud, and it even comes with a "ghost-pleasing" cake recipe. Highly recommended!
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