cover image Man Who Tricked a Ghost

Man Who Tricked a Ghost

Laurence Yep, Yep. Troll Communications, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8167-3030-8

As he did in The Shell Woman & the King (reviewed July 12), Newbery Honor author Yep again reinvigorates a centuries-old Chinese tale. The hero, Sung, aptly dressed in red, is so fearless he picnics in graveyards and naps in haunted houses. ``We are . . . all cousins,'' he explains, ``so why should I be afraid?'' One night he meets a warrior in antique armor--a chillingly blue-faced ghost. He persuades it that he, too, is a ghost, though a new one, and declares that they are cousins. Sung takes the opportunity to learn ghost secrets; then, when the ghost assumes the form of a splendid ram (with angry ghost eyes), he uses his knowledge to sell it to an anonymously mud-brown farmer. ``New at being a ghost, he was even newer at being rich. But he liked it.'' Seltzer's ( The House I Live In ) bold use of color heightens not only the struggle between the vital Sung and the humorless, destructive ghost, but also the contrast between the hero and more mundane humans. A riveting yet funny tale. Ages 5-9. (Sept.)