An enjoyable New Orleans tale featuring a most un-frightening ghost.
Fred has the perfect life, for a ghost. He putters around his dusty, dreary, dilapidated New Orleans home, happy with the company of one small cactus. But suddenly, two strangers—a man named Pierre and his daughter Marie—arrive and begin renovations in earnest. They turn the old house into a spic-and-span restaurant ready to serve up fine Cajun and Creole fare. Once the first guests have arrived, Fred tries to drive them away, putting on his most terrible ghostly show, moaning, wailing and tossing food about. To his great disappointment, the diners are not scared off. In fact, they begin to cheer and proclaim the haunted restaurant a resounding success. Frustrated, Fred decides to give up and vacate his home, but Pierre and Marie think the house is big enough to share. Pierre whips up some Powdered Ghost Puffs, much like beignets, for Fred while Maria prepares a special room for him, complete with leaks, dust and squeaky floors. And they live—or at least exist—happily ever after. The interplay among the characters is great: When Marie spots Fred sadly leaving and asks if he is the ghost, he responds, "What did you expect?… A floating sheet?" Castelao’s illustrations have an ethereal, quirky quality that complements the story, and the details she includes help anchor its New Orleans setting.
Pair with Cambria Evans’ Bone Soup (2008) or Kazuno Kahora’s Ghosts in the House! (2008) for some fantastic, not-so-scary ghostly fun. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)