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THE CHRISTMAS EVE GHOST by Shirley Hughes Kirkus Star


by Shirley Hughes, illustrated by Shirley Hughes

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4472-7
Publisher: Candlewick

Hughes draws on her childhood memories in this longer-than-usual story about a fatherless Welsh family’s struggles in Depression-era Liverpool. Two children, Bronwen and Dylan, live in a row house with their widowed mother, who takes in laundry to make her living. On Christmas Eve, left alone briefly, the children are frightened by spooky noises coming from the washhouse, which leads to a new friendship with the kind-hearted Irish Catholic family living next door. A mixture of full-page and spot illustrations in watercolor and ink creates a nostalgic atmosphere, and details of the hand-washing, drying and ironing process are conveyed through both text and illustrations. The overall theme of the budding friendship between families of different faiths is subtly but effectively presented, and children will understand the feeling of neighborly cooperation. A lovely, refreshing, nostalgia-free reminiscence. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-9)