cover image The Boy and the Ghost

The Boy and the Ghost

Robert D. San Souci. Simon & Schuster, $16.95 (33pp) ISBN 978-0-671-67176-1

Children love nothing better than a good ghost story, and this wonderful version of a black American tale from the turn of the century won't disappoint. As the middle child of seven, Thomas decides he is the best one to venture to the city to earn money for the family. His parents tell him to be polite, generous, brave and honest, no matter what. On the way, he shares some soup with a stranger, who repays him by directing him to a haunted house full of treasure. As the guileless Thomas goes about preparing his supper, he is undaunted by the ghost who appears bit by bit. When the ghost roars at Thomas, he politely offers some soup. Because the boy is the first to stay long enough for the ghost to reassemble himself, he is led to the treasure behind the house. San Souci's version retains all the folksy charm of the original story of this sincere, spunky young man. An additional note traces the Old and New World roots of this folktale. Pinkney exhibits great style in his debut, depicting Thomas and the ghost in evocative, lovely watercolors. This story will delight long after the last embers have died down. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)