‘Hungry Ghost of Rue Orleans’ full of the crazy details that kids enjoy


“THE HUNGRY GHOST OF RUE ORLEANS,” by Mary Quattlebaum, illustrated by Patricia Castelao, Random House Books for Young Readers, September 27, 2011, $15.99 (ages 3 and up)

The first page of Mary Quattlebaum’s “The Hungry Ghose of Rue Orleans” immediately draws readers in with words like: “jazzy-snazzy,” “squeaked,” “moaned,” and “clicked.” How can your ears not perk up with all those interesting sounds being thrown around?  Meanwhile, the warm colors of the full-page illustrations are busy presenting puzzles and details for the reader eyes to wander about and discover (like a man with legs made of smoke, and a ceiling dripping with rain). By the time the page ends with the revelation that the book’s main character, Fred, is a ghost, you can’t help but keep reading to find out more about Fred and what his life is like at 28 Rue Orleans.

Set in a New Orleans’ restaurant, this creative picture book will make young readers giggle as they watch Fred experience life with the new — and living — residents of his house.  With entertaining additions including a beloved cactus, and diners who enjoy the haunting antics of a resident ghost, this book is full of all those crazy details that young readers enjoy.  Fred isn’t a scary ghost, he’s a fun ghost — and anyone would enjoy getting to know him better.

Full of fun sensory-laden language, this quick-paced picture book has both likeable characters and topsy-turvy surprises. Add to that an ending centered around loving your neighbor — even if he is a ghost — and you’ve got yourself a fun read for the whole family.

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