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A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts: A Collection of Deliciously Frightening Tales Hardcover – October 27, 2009


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805082085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805082081
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,396,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–9—In this collection of gruesome ghost stories, Compestine takes readers through China's history, from the building of the Great Wall to the modern day. Organized like a traditional Chinese banquet, with each story as a dish, the tales revolve around the spirits of those who died unfairly and prematurely. Most feature murder victims exacting their revenge, usually disposing of their killers. These stories are not only deliciously frightening but also introduce readers to ancient and modern Chinese customs and beliefs. The author postscripts each selection with background about something in the tale such as the resurgence of Buddhist temples, insect fights, or exotic delicacies. Food plays a prominent role in each tale, and Compestine includes a recipe with the back matter for each story. Polhemus's black-and-white atmospheric illustrations add to the spookiness. Not for the fainthearted, these offerings are a step beyond Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (HarperCollins, 1986).—Jennifer Rothschild, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, Oxon Hill, MD
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Compestine (Boy Dumplings, 2009) presents an eight-course offering of chilling tales honoring Chinese food and ghost lore. It is believed that those who die without a decent last meal or were wronged in death come back to seek revenge. The book, divided into appetizers, main courses, and desserts, centers chapters around individual dishes, for which Compestine generously provides a recipe, along with a cultural note relevant to events in the story. Most of the tales are more gory than spooky, and the juxtaposition of recipes for beef stew and steamed shrimp dumplings with stories of harvested organs and cannibalized Great Wall workers turns the stomach a bit. It’s not discernable whether the sensationalism of some dishes, such as brains from a living monkey, will help or harm the demystification of Chinese tradition among young readers, but they certainly won’t walk away without having learned something new. Grades 6-8. --Courtney Jones

More About the Author

Award-Winning Author and Inspirational Public Speaker, Ying is the versatile and prolific author of picture books, novels for young readers, and cookbooks. Named one of "50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading" by the Author's Show, Ying has 19 books to her name. Frequently sought after by the media, she has been featured on numerous national television programs, and is regularly profiled in prestigious news media, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Huffington Post.

Ying frequently visits schools throughout the US and abroad, sharing with students her journey as a writer, how her life in China inspired her writing, and the challenges of writing in her second language. Her newest book, co-authored with her son, Secrets of a Terra-Cotta Soldier, is due out this fall. Her new cookbook, Cooking with an Asian Accent, is due out next spring.

Ying was born and raised in Wuhan, China. Her highly acclaimed novel about her life growing up in China during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party, has received over 33 national awards. Her website is www.yingc.com.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
And this book was on the shelf of ghost stories.
Pat Gallagher
The story is laced with anecdotes of chinese culture and mention of many mouthwatering dishes.
Reuben Tom Kee
It was a quaint read with fun stories and even better recipes.
Loren w Christensen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Pat Gallagher on August 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
And this book was on the shelf of ghost stories. What a wonderful read! I ripped through it in a couple of hours.

The background on the Chinese culture, history, and customs involved in each story followed each creepy tale, along with a recipe for the story title food. I loved it! For example, the story "Steamed Dumplings" tells of an angry and hungry ghost who returns to haunt the inn where he was killed as a (very bad) cook during the building of the Great Wall of China. People have to set dumplings outside the inn to placate him... but oh, when there's a mistake in the recipe...

The story is followed by a short history of the building of the Great Wall, and the legend of hungry ghosts, and then by an absolutely great dumpling recipe that I want to make.

Truly, I haven't been as pleased by a collection of short stories in a long time as I have been by this one.

OK, I'm dragging out a wok and sesame oil now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Reuben Tom Kee on March 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This is truly delightful and exciting reading with a sense of irony and the macabre. The story is laced with anecdotes of chinese culture and mention of many mouthwatering dishes. Add a generous mixture of simple but authentic recipes which are worthy of tasting, and you have great stories for all ages, not to mention a rather unique combination to satisfy the hunger - both for the food and for the stories. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sunny R on March 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful book to read and enjoy. Not only has Miss Compestine used her own experiences and memories from her youth to help spin these delightful tales, she has also included Chinese history and fables and a delicious selection of Chinese influenced recipes. The stories were fun and had the right tone for young adults. And I loved how each story ended with a comparison to actual history in China and a recipe. I can't wait to try the recipes myself! They all seemed easy and delicious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Loren w Christensen VINE VOICE on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was a quaint read with fun stories and even better recipes. The writing is fine and projects an Asian flavor.
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