Review Blog

Dec 07 2011

The Christmas Eve Ghost by Shirley Hughes

cover image

Walker Books, 2011. ISBN: 9781406331073.
(Ages: 5-9) As soon as I opened this book, the classically Shirley Hughes illustrations transported me back to childhood times spent with Alfie and other titles whose stories I cannot remember but whose illustrations remain lovingly stowed within my memory. As Shirley herself says illustrations in picture books should flow over the pages and children should feel as though they too are within the story they are hearing, seeing or reading. The superb illustrations within this book are certain to do just that. In addition, the tale itself is engaging and beautifully crafted and will satisfy the adult reader as much, if not more so, than the young audience.
Shirley wrote this story using memories of her time growing up in Liverpool in the 1930's so children will be fascinated by the everyday life of hardship led by Bronwen, Dylan and their Mam. While the differences between the childhood life of today and that of the 1930's are obvious and make for great talking points what this book really highlights is the classic nature of children in their innocent acceptance of others and their ability to inspire hope and open-mindedness in others. The message is a simple one of Christmas goodwill and it is one we could all benefit from remembering.  This story is rather lengthy with extended text on some pages but is perfect for some shared magical moments between a child and their parent or grandparent.
Nicole Smith-Forrest

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