In one of the previous articles, Best Five Books on Monsters are introduced as imaginary beings. In this article, five recommendable books on ghost will be introduced as another imaginary being. Although most of us do not encounter a ghost, it is quite familiar to us. We have heard about it since we were young. It has equivocal impressions on us: both scary and friendly. There have been many movies about ghosts. Sometimes, it is intermingled with the concept of the soul.
Five children’s books on ghost are introduced herein. some books also introduce a witch. A witch might be another imaginary being which inspires the curiosity of our children. Interestingly, there is some kind of rivalry between a ghost and a witch in the introduced books. In some books, a ghost is described as a being with its own emotion and feeling like us. Our children will be scared of ghost, but they will be curious about it too. I hope our children enjoy reading these books and learn some lessons.
THE LITTLE OLD LADY WHO WAS NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING
(Author: Linda D. Williams, Illustrator: Megan Lloyd, Age range: 4~8 years)
There was a little old lady who was not afraid of anything. One day, she went for a walk in the forest. It was getting dark, and she encountered several objects such as a pair of big shoes, a pair of pants, a shirt, two white gloves, a hat, and a pumpkin head. Strangely, all of them followed her while making strange sounds. But the old lady was not afraid of them, and she just kept walking home.
Finally, she got home safely and locked the door. Then, there was a knock on the door. When she opened the door, all the following objects were there to scare her. When she said that she was not afraid of them, these objects were disappointed. Then, the little old lady suggested them what to do, and they followed her advice: they became a scarecrow.
There are colorful graphics in the book, and the story is fun reading. The scenes are somewhat scary at first, but there is a twist at the end of the story, which might be relieving or comforting for our children. Reading this book aloud can be interactive with the sound effect of funny noises.
Our children may think about facing fear by observing the old lady who encountered somewhat scary objects without any fear. The scene where the old lady suggested the following objects to become a scarecrow is smart and funny.
Ghosts in the House
(Author & Illustrator: Kazuno Kohara, Age range: 3~6 years)
A girl moved into a splendid house. Surprisingly, the place was a haunted house. More surprisingly, the girl was a witch. The girl caught all the ghosts in the house with her cat. Then, she put all of them in the washing machine.
Afterward, all the ghosts were hung and dried on the cloth-line under the shiny Sun like clothes. The dried ghosts were used as curtains, tablecloths, and bedsheets.
It is an interesting book with creative thought. There are two big twists in the story: 1. the house the girl moved in was a haunted house, 2. the girl was a witch.
In the beginning, the ghosts were thought of as strong and scary beings. But they were vulnerable ones compared to the girl. Throughout the book, both the illustrations and the storyline are rather simple. Simple images are shown in only orange and black colors.
In this book, the ghosts are described as a not-so-scary being. Even after they were hanging on the clothes-line, they were smiling. Inserting all the ghosts into a laundry machine after catching them will make our children laugh. Drying all of them under the shiny Sun and using them as if they were clothes are also funny.
Ten Timid Ghosts
(Author & Illustrator: Jennifer O’Connell, Age range: 4~8 years)
Ten timid ghosts lived in a haunted house. A witch moved in and wanted to kick all of them out of the house. By disguising or using puppets, such as a skeleton, bat, ghoul, cat, owl, vampire, monster, spider, rat, and mummy, the witch scared all the ghosts out of the house one by one. All timid ghosts flew to the woods.
In the deep dark woods, ten ghosts realized that they were kicked out by the witch. They got angry, and they bravely went back to the house and scared the witch out of the house. They regained the house.
It is a counting book for young children while casting both ghosts and a witch. The story sounds like a poem. Counting and rhyming appear throughout the book. Most pages have the same structure of the sentences as shown below.
The rhymes are easy to follow and remember. They should be enjoyable for young children. There are repetitive and descriptive words, and the book’s illustrations are captivating.
It is interesting to see that five male and five female ghosts flew to the woods in alternating order. Also, note that the last ghost was not a timid ghost but a clever ghost. She figured out that they were kicked out by a witch.
After the last ghost flew to the woods, she probably encouraged all the other ghosts to go back to the house. They regained their property. Our children can be exposed to the concept of fighting for one’s rights.
The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon
(Author & Illustrator: Aaron Blabey,: Age range: 5~8 years)
The village of Twee was a haunted and cursed town. A ghost named Miss Annabel Spoon showed up from time to time, and people in the town were scared of her.
One day, people in the town got together and discussed that they wanted to remove the ghost but did not know how to do it. Then, young Herbert showed up and said that it would be necessary to ask the ghost why she was there. The townies mentioned that it would not be a good idea to ask her, but Mr. Herbert bravely went to the deep wood to meet her up.
He arrived at the house of Miss Annabel Spoon and faced her. Surprisingly, she was crying because she was so lonely. All she wanted was a friend. Mr. Herbert felt empathy and comforted her by saying that he could be her friend. By talking to Herbert, her heart was mended. With the effort of Mr. Herbert, the village of Twee was saved.
The book was written by Aaron Blabey (1974~) in 2011. This book has won several awards, such as the Patricia Wrightson Award and Children’s Peace Literature Award in 2013.
The text of the book was designed with painstaking efforts. Most pages have six lines of text, and there are a lot of rhymes on every single page. Most likely, the same rhymes are repeated only once. A few examples are shown in the following table.
Its illustrations are also very unique. The figure of Miss Annabel Spoon in the first few pages is somewhat scary. Dark and grey background is dominant throughout the book, indicating the gloomy mood of the town and Miss Annabel Spoon. At the end of the book, bright illustration indicates that the town is alive again, and Miss Annabel Spoon is not lonely anymore.
This book introduces the concept of loneliness. Speaking up bravely and helping someone in need will be an excellent lesson for our children. They can also think about breaking a stereotype. This book is highly recommended.
Ghosts! Ghostly Tales from Folklore
(Author: Alvin Schwartz, Illustrator: Victoria Chess, Age range: 4~8 years)
This book introduces the following seven folklore stories.
The haunted house
David and Ann went into a haunted house. They thought that they were alone. But, surprisingly, a ghost was standing behind Ann.
Mr. Smith was selling cats in his store. One day, a girl named Nan and her mother visited the store of Mr. Smith. Nan wanted to buy a beautiful cat who was sitting on a cash register. Its name was Susie. Mr. Smith mentioned that he couldn’t sell Susie even when Nan kept asking him. The reason was that Susie died a year ago, and what they saw was a ghost of Susie which visited the store from time to time.
A little Green Bottle
Joe was bullied by Kate. Even after Kate died, she kept haunting Joe. One day, Joe asked the ghost of Kate if she could become small and go inside a green bottle. When she moved in the bottle, Joe blocked the bottle with a cork and threw it into a river. Afterward, the ghost of Kate did not show up anymore.
On a rainy night, George heard people singing in a cemetery. He joined them because the singing was so beautiful. They gave George an umbrella and vanished. They were ghosts. George was scared and left the place while holding the umbrella. He used it until he died. When he died, the umbrella vanished.
Three little Ghosts
It is a poem of three little ghosts sitting on posts.
Rhyme is amusing and fun to follow.
The Teeny-Tiny Woman
A teeny-tiny woman found a set of teeny-tiny teeth in a graveyard. She came home while wearing it. A haunting voice kept asking for the teeth, and she threw it outside. Then, a ghost took it to the graveyard while telling her not to touch its teeny-tiny teeth again.
Ghost, Get lost
It shows a spell when a ghost scares you.
The book introduces seven tales from folklore. The forward of the book summarizes the essence of how we perceive the ghost. The forward describes the ghost as “strange and scary and fun”.
As the forward describes, the introduced stories are strange, scary, and funny. All the illustrations are rather simple but enjoyable. Our children will find these stories entertaining, and they will be surprised by most stories.