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Ghosts for Breakfast
     

Ghosts for Breakfast

by Stanley Todd Terasaki, Shelly Shinjo (Illustrator)
 

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PON! PON! PON! PON!The pounding on the door brings three unexpected guests to our young narrator's home — Mr. Omi, Mr. Omaye, and Mr. Ono. The Troublesome Triplets, as they are called because they always seem to have some sort of complaint, have just seen ghosts — dozens of them — in Farmer Tanaka's field! The ghosts were long and thin and white, very

Overview

PON! PON! PON! PON!The pounding on the door brings three unexpected guests to our young narrator's home — Mr. Omi, Mr. Omaye, and Mr. Ono. The Troublesome Triplets, as they are called because they always seem to have some sort of complaint, have just seen ghosts — dozens of them — in Farmer Tanaka's field! The ghosts were long and thin and white, very white, and they were dancing in the moonlight.Papa thinks the situation is great fun, but his son isn't so sure. After all, there are ghosts out there. So Papa decides to get to the bottom of the Triplets' story. He sets off to hunt the ghosts, and he takes his son with him.Set in California in the 1920s, this delightful father-son story speaks to all young children who yearn to overcome their fears. Readers also come to realize the hazards of jumping to conclusions, for things aren't always what they seem.In 2000, Lee & Low established its annual New Voices Award to encourage writers of color to enter the field of children's literature. Ghosts for Breakfast was one of the honorees that year.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In their first children's book, Terasaki and Shinjo freshen up a familiar story line-the spooky thing that really isn't-by placing their tale in the backyard of Japanese immigrant farmers in 19th-century California. When three anxious neighbors, Mr. Omi, Mr. Omaye and Mr. Ono (known as the "Troublesome Triplets"), visit the boy narrator's house one night, they insist that Farmer Tanaka's field is haunted. The boy and his skeptical father ("Let's get to the bottom of this. Take me to see the ghosts") go out to investigate. Shinjo's acrylics play up the murky blue-green darkness with tendrils of ocean fog; these surroundings, coupled with the howling wind, ("Woo-o-o-o!") prove too much for the boy and he flees. But the ghosts turn out to be harmless daikon-spindly white radishes with hair-like green tops-drying in the night air in preparation for pickling by Mrs. Tanaka. The next morning, the Troublesome Triplets express their gratitude with a bowl of the pickled delicacy: "Best ghost I ever ate," Papa says with a laugh. Terasaki takes a matter-of-fact approach to a bygone era with descriptions that deliver cultural details (e.g., "Soon the fog became very thick, thick as bean paste soup"), while Shinjo's acrylic paintings balance the humor of the hapless trio's assertions as well as the boy's emotional tenor. With flattened perspectives and almost architectural characterizations, the artwork conveys the lovingly worn texture of a generations-old family story, and the comfort that parents offer fearful children of any time and place. Ages 5-9. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 1-One evening, the Troublesome Triplets-Mr. Omi ("Oh me"), Mr. Omaye ("Oh my"), and Mr. Ono ("Oh no")-come by a boy's house to tell his father they've seen ghosts- long, skinny white ghosts in Farmer Tanaka's field. After teasing them, the man takes his son out to investigate, and they find that the "ghosts" are actually daikon that have been hung up to dry, and are blowing in the wind. A few days later, the appreciative triplets bring the now pickled daikon over, and the family members eat "ghosts" for breakfast. The story is set on a farm that could be anywhere, but it has the feel of California's San Joaquin Valley, where Terasaki grew up. Shinjo's illustrations picture the Japanese family in Western-style clothes and home. The flat, cartoony aspect of the acrylic art matches the tone of the narrative. In the end, though, the story is pretty thin, and not all audiences might appreciate the humor of the father making fun of both his son and of the elderly triplets. Yet larger libraries, or those with migrant farming or Japanese-American communities, might appreciate this book for its cultural specificity.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Daikon is what's actually for breakfast in this humorous story about overactive imagination that is based on the experience of one of the author's own ancestors. The Troublesome Triplets, so-called because no one ever sees any of the three men apart from one another or without some sort of concern, stop in at the farmhouse one night, swearing that they have seen ghosts in Farmer Tanaka's field. Hilariously named Mr. Omi ("Oh me!"), Mr. Omaye ("Oh my!"), and Mr. Ono ("Oh no!"), they sport facial expressions so woebegone that readers can only chuckle. Father decides the best thing to do is take his son over to the field to see what's actually going on. The boy is terrified to see white wisps blowing in the wind; he's relieved when he hears his father screaming with laughter, having discovered it's only Mrs. Tanaka's daikon hung out to dry. A few days later, the grateful Triplets return, this time with delicious pickles made from the ghostly radishes. The stylized acrylic illustrations in dark, nighttime colors are at their best portraying the three woeful gentlemen, but also aptly convey the eeriness of the long, swaying pieces of white daikon in the inky night. A perfect blend of humor and suspense, with the added appeal of a Japanese-American setting. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781584300465
Publisher:
Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Publication date:
04/28/2013
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
7 Years

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