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
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*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 MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved