TWO GHOSTS ON A BENCH by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat


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Sharmat has taken it into her head to station two grumbling ghosts, a boy and a girl, at a park bench, then have them tell each other stories to ease the boredom of this assigned post. The first, a ""Mad Story,"" tells of children who come and spill their anger on the bench, then go away feeling better. In the second, a lonely kid makes friends with the bench, then finds a real friend through a note he writes to the bench. In the next, two children sing on the bench--one reluctantly at first, then with spirit. Then two solitary men with odd pastimes decide it's better to paint signs and weave mats for each other than just for themselves. Each of these wispy shades of stories has its little point, or point of contact, but little else. In a final ""story,"" the ghosts discover that, in life, they met on the bench and returned there together ""for years and years."" So now they are happy with their post, an ordinary place but one where lives are lived and intersect. Clearly, Sharmat's story, or story complex, is too slight to put across such sentiments with any impact or conviction. Still, she can always be counted on for a spark of wit in the writing, and Langner's pencil sketches of sturdy, expressive children and the two floating ghosts--rakishly frowzy on top and trailing off in long, puffy clouds--give the whole some charm and lift.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1982
Publisher: Harper & Row