Friday, May 4, 2012


Quattlebaum, Mary. The Hungry Ghost of Rue Orleans. Illus. Patricia Castelao. New York: Random House, 2011. $15.99 US $17.99 CAN. ISBN: 978-0-375-86207-6. 

Fred loves his dilapidated house on fictitious Rue Orleans. He loves the dusty air and shares its nightly creaks and moans. There could not be a better house for a ghost in all of The Big Easy. But Fred’s good times are interrupted when Pierre and his daughter Marie burst in and transform his old haunt into a jazzy Cajun restaurant.

This book is a delightful look at the difficulty in dealing with change. It offers readers a great representation of the nostalgia invested in familiar things and the difficulty of letting them go. For a city still reeling from the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, The Hungry Ghost of Rue Orleans offers a positive perspective toward building great things out of ruin.

Patricia Castelao’s colorful illustrations capture the charming ambiance of New Orleans, depicting in shadows the surrounding neighborhood reminiscent of the infamous French Quarter. Other pictures stretch across the pages in throngs of diverse faces dining over white bowls of richly hued gumbo. All the while, the ghostly presence of Fred still remains in focus in opaque creams and blues amidst the vividness of the surrounding colors. It is truly a respective nod toward the charm and ambiance of The Big Easy.

Jaimee Pease

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