Downloadable Teacher’s Guide
About the Book
Cora Lee Merriweather had a lemon-pucker mouth and hair scraped back into a hard little bun. Cora Lee also baked the best pies and cakes for miles — fluffy meringue pies, flaky strudels, layer cakes, sheet cakes, and cakes with frosting finer than Irish lace. But now Cora Lee haunts the shop she used to own.
When new bakers arrive to take over her empty bake shop, Cora Lee scares them away, each and every one. Then Annie Washington comes to town . . .
Jacqueline K. Ogburn and Marjorie Priceman combine their talents to give us an enchanting baker’s battle in this story about unlocking the secrets of the perfect recipe and a lonely heart.
1. Describe Miss Cora Lee Merriweather.
2. What was Miss Cora Lee’s claim to local fame? Where do you go to get the best baked goods and treats in your own town?
3. Why was the Merriweather Bake Shop sold? Have any of your favorite restaurants or stores ever gone out of business or been sold?
4. What happened to Gerda Stein, Frederico Spinelli, and Sophie Kristoff? Why?
5. When Cora Lee first confronted Annie, what did Annie do? How was her reaction different from that of the previous owners?
6. Of all the cakes Annie baked, which one sounded the most delicious to you? What is your favorite kind of cake?
7. Which cake finally brought tears to Cora Lee’s eyes? Why was this one special to her?
8. What is the new name of the bake shop? What other name did Cora Lee want Annie to consider?
9. What do Annie and Cora Lee do for each other every year? What does it mean when Annie says, “Who ever makes cake for the baker?” Do you know someone who gets overlooked for what he or she does? How can you make that person feel special?
The author, Jacqueline K. Ogburn, uses delicious details to bring The Bake Shop Ghost to life. In pairs, read the story again and use sticky notes to mark at least five terrific examples of memorable details. Then write a description of your favorite restaurant and try your hand at creating your own platter of delicious details.
In pairs, ad-lib a scene from the story. You can embellish on what is included in the book or stay true to the dialogue as it is written. Perform for another pair of students and then discuss what you learned about the characters.
Sing the following song to the tune of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” or create a new song about the book and sing it to a familiar tune.
Take me down to the Bake Shop
Let’s go see Cora Lee
Buy me some mud pie or layer cakes
I don’t care whatever she bakes!
Now she haunts, haunts, haunts the new owners
except Annie Washington
Who bakes her one, two, three hundred cakes
till her birthday comes!
Using any materials you like (clay, Styrofoam, empty boxes, paper, etc.), try to create a realistic, appetizing piece of artwork that resembles your favorite dessert! Don’t use perishable materials, so that your work can be permanently enjoyed with no expiration date required.
Host a traditional cakewalk and donate the proceeds from the event to a local food pantry or women’s shelter.
Bring to class your favorite family recipe for cake, brownies, or another baked goodie. Then figure out how to both double the recipe and cut it in half. Creating a recipe book of these items makes a terrific holiday present to parents.
Baking is science at its most basic: experiment, observation, and evaluation. Bake something (with a parent, of course), then fill in the following table as you create your culinary masterpiece.
(notes on the process)
Jacqueline K. Ogburn, in spite of a lifelong fondness for cake, has never worked in a bake shop. She has worked in a cigarette factory, a publishing house, a state agency, and a university library. Her book The Magic Nesting Doll received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was a “Pick of the Lists” book. Her family’s favorite recipe for birthday cake is the one in this book. Ms. Ogburn lives with her husband and their two daughters in Durham, North Carolina.
Marjorie Priceman has worked in an ice cream parlor, at a hamburger stand, and as a fashion illustrator. Luckily for us, she decided to be a painter and has illustrated many wonderful books, such as Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin, which was a Caldecott Honor Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book. And though Marjorie has written and illustrated the book Princess Picky, about vegetables, she considers cake to be one of life’s great and necessary pleasures.
This guide was created by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, a reading specialist and children’s author. Visit her Web site to find hundreds of guides about children’s literature.