The Boy and the Ghost by Robert D. San Souci

The Boy and the Ghost

The Boy and the Ghost
by Robert D. San Souci
bk – 0-671-67176-6

What a perfect book! This is the tale of Thomas, who is the middle child of seven children. His parents are very poor cotton farmers and Thomas feels like he needs to do his part to help them. He tells the family he will go to the city to find a job and get money back to them. His parents give him what they can, which isn’t much: a hambone, a pot and a sack. On the way he meets a man who was even poorer than himself. Thomas shares his meal and as they eat, the man tells him of a house haunted by the ghost of a rich man. If Thomas can stay in the house overnight, he is told that he will gain wealth beyond his imagining. He agrees to try it… and meets the ghost.

I loved this book on so many levels. One, that the child feels a sense of responsibility to his family and he’s willing to do what he can to help. Two, once put in a dangerous situation that could help his family, Thomas goes willingly. Three, the main character is a charming, helpful, polite and thoughtful black boy. I think its important to show black main characters in a positive light without throwing it in your face.

Another reason why I loved this book, is that its the perfect amount of scary. Yes it has ghosts, but the ghost is a red-headed Irish guy who looks like a man, just sort of shadowy. He isn’t dripping with gore, or completely ghastly, or totally gruesome. He’s just a ghostly figure. The illustrations aren’t really dark or glaring, and they’re actually quite pleasing to the eyes.

The story is a little longer, which will appeal to 1st and 2nd graders, but not a completely overwhelming read for kindergarteners. Plus, the language used does not talk down to the reader, so I think it will appeal to older elementary age kids as well.

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~ by kitkat on May 9, 2007.

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