Written by Ying Chang Compestine
Illustrated by James Yamasaki
Published by Holiday House, 2009
A ghost, a boy, and a recipe for boy dumplings make this a fun tale about how a clever young mind can outwit a spirit. Along the lines of classic tales like Brer Rabbit, the boy sends his captor on a series of wild goose chases to distract him from the dinner he is eagerly anticipating. In the end the tables turn and the boy becomes the victor. The watercolor and gouache illustrations, full of sunlight and shadow, provide the contrasting backdrop this tale needs.
Boy Dumplings, inspired by the author’s own son, ties in well with autumn festivities like the Chinese Halloween/the Ghost Festival. “The Chinese believe that during this time the gate that keeps ghosts out of the living world open,” the author writes. “Ghosts roam free”. Author’s notes and a recipe for boy-free dumplings are included at the back of this picture book.
—Heidi Håvan Grosch, educator and children’s literature enthusiast
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