cover image Ghost Catcher

Ghost Catcher

Dennis Haseley. First Glance Books, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-022244-4

Set in a sun-baked Southwestern village, this highly atmospheric parable tells of a man named Ghost Catcher, who has no shadow. A loner, he refuses help from his friends and neighbors, but is always ready to offer his own unique ability to retrieve lost ones--a dog, a husband--before they reach the mysterious place where ghosts go. The significance of Ghost Catcher's missing shadow (a metaphor for his incompleteness as a human being) becomes clear when, curious, he ventures into the land where ghosts go and is trapped. He is saved from this wretched, lonely place by his friends, in a climactic scene that says much about the redemptive power of love. Haseley's ( The Thieves' Market ; The Old Banjo ) dynamic prose has epic overtones, and Bloom's ( Yonder ; Like Jake and Me ) bold strokes and brash, earthy colors--reminiscent at times of muralist Diego Rivera--give the story a strong sense of place. Though this book may be over the heads of some children, it is an intriguing, thoughtful collaboration. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)