Award-Winning AWB (Award-Winning-Books) 2013 Books GB Challenges Monsters, Beasts, and Chimeras Picture Books Read-a-Latte Reading Themes

Hungry Ghosts and their Victuals in “Bone Soup” and “Ghosts for Breakfast”


These two books feature not just spooks and spectres but their delicacies too: ghosts and food!

IMG_8819Bone Soup

Words and Pictures By: Cambria Evans
Published byHoughton Mifflin Company, 2008
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

Finnigin is a ghost who is infamous for three things: (1) his eating stool, (2) his eating spoon, and (3) his eating mouth. He is known throughout the land as someone with an insatiable appetite.

Finnigin’s many travels brought him to a town. He was hoping to find a Halloween feast in that barren land, but as soon as a flying witch caught sight of him, she warned all the townscreatures that Finnigin is on his way. They set up posters and warning signs all over town so that zombies, ghosts, mummies can start hoarding their frogs’ legs, hiding their bat wings, booby-trapping their jars of eyeballs to ensure their safety.


Finnigin was surprised to see the town unusually deserted. When he started knocking on doorsteps, he was greeted with shrieks and screams of “Go away! We’ve no food for you!” The reader can see just how hospitable these creatures are. Finnigin, however, was undaunted. He went on to build a fire in the middle of the town square and proceeded to boil water in a huge cauldron.


He also dropped a magnificent piece of bone and sang this little ditty:

Bone Soup is what I make

A magic bone is all it takes

Boil it long and add some spice

Bone soup tastes so very nice!

Soon enough, the werewolf, the ghoul, the mummy, the witch, and all the other creatures started coming out of the woodworks to join Finnigin and watch what he is making. After several moments of stirring, Finnigin became wistful and noted how much more delicious the soup could be with just a few eyeballs…then a bit later, he said how lovelier it can be with perhaps a few frogs’ legs, and so on it goes.


How this bone soup turned out, I shall leave for you to discover. Subtle, quirky, and cleverly-worded, this is a book that will be enjoyed by a lot of children. For those who wish to know the author/illustrator more, click on the link to be taken to Cynthia Leitich Smith’s interview with Cambria Evans.

Ghosts for BreakfastIMG_8733

Story ByStanley Todd Terasaki
Illustrated byShelly Shinjo
Published by: Lee & Low Books, Inc. 2002. Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

The title alone was enough for me to grab this book off from our library shelves. The story begins with three men knocking on the young boy narrator’s home. The jacketflap of the book indicates that the setting of the narrative is in a Japanese American farming community sometime in the 1920s.

The unexpected visitors turned out to be “The Troublesome Triplets” named Mr. Omi “Oh me,”, Mr. Omaye “Oh my”, and Mr Ono “Oh no”. They claim that they have seen ghosts – a great many of them – in Farmer Tanaka’s field. They were white and dancing in the moonlight.


Upon hearing the three men’s frantic story, Papa decided to investigate. And to prove that he was unafraid, he even brought his son, the young narrator of this story, with him.


Yet while Papa appeared steadfast and convinced that there were absolutely no ghosts around, his young son was not as confident. In fact, he was terrified but he also wanted to accompany his father and help him in his fact-finding, ghost-hunting mission.


It tells a good and effective story about seeing what one wants to see and things not always being what they seem – if one cares enough to go beyond the surface. How the young boy was able to overcome his fear especially when he saw mist swirling in from the sea, dancing white hair from Farmer Tanaka’s field, and the sound of his father screaming far from away – I shall leave for you to discover.


Ghosts for Breakfast: New Voices Award Honor Book

AWB Reading Challenge Update: 43 (35)


Read-a-Latte Challenge Update:  205/206 (150)

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Singapore. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she serves as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads or meeting up with her book club friends, she is smashing that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life.

2 comments on “Hungry Ghosts and their Victuals in “Bone Soup” and “Ghosts for Breakfast”

  1. Like both of these. Thanks for the spooky breakfast :).


  2. I like any parody of “Stone Soup” and the latter book sounds great! 😀


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