Kirkus Reviews QR Code
A GHOST STORY by Nina Crews


by Nina Crews

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-688-17673-9
Publisher: Greenwillow

This unusual story uses multiple first-person narrators and photographs of a real family to tell the story of Jonathan, an African-American boy who is bothered by a ghost who has taken up residence in the family home, though only Jonathan can see him. Jonathan’s family blames him for the mysterious flying toys and books and unexplained noises. The ghost is a mischievous poltergeist type, represented in the photographs by a shadowy gray stick figure shadow floating in the air. The story is divided into short chapters printed on different colors for the different narrators, who also include Jonathan’s younger sister, a budding jazz singer, and his beloved uncle Pete, visiting from his ranch home out west. Pete doesn’t admit that he sees the ghost, but he helps Jonathan corral it in a blanket and together they toss the ghost out the window. Most children and some adult readers will take the story literally, but others of a more psychoanalytical bent will attribute the ghostly apparitions to Jonathan’s need for more of the attention that his talented little sister demands. There is no one definitive way to interpret the story, and different interpretations of the plot and the author’s intent could spark some interesting discussions with older children, especially with those learning about point of view. (Picture book. 5-10)