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The Christmas Eve Ghost    by Shirley Hughes order for
Christmas Eve Ghost
by Shirley Hughes
Order:  USA  Can
Candlewick, 2010 (2010)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

It is Christmas in the 1930s and the streets and shop windows of Liverpool, England reflect the season, showcasing wonderful gifts and good things to eat. Unfortunately, Bronwen, Dylan and their Mam will be having a dire Christmas because there's not much money since their father died in a mining accident.

Each morning the children's mother gets up early to collect dirty laundry which she washes and then returns to her customers. When she's not at home, the hard working parent cautions her children to stay away from the neighbors. The O'Rileys attend a different church and are not 'their kind'.

Then on Christmas Eve, when their mother steps out to run some errands, the two youngsters are scared out of their wits by noises they hear coming from the washroom. It must be ghosts!

Running out the front door of their house, Bronwen and Dylan run right into the arms of Mrs. O'Riley, who is just coming home from the store. She calms the children, explains what the mysterious sounds are, and then watches over the youngsters until their Mam returns.

From this experience a warm friendship develops between the two families that overcomes any sectarian intolerance or misunderstanding. A moving story with excellent illustrations, this is an unusual holiday tale that gives new meaning to the well worn adage, 'Peace on Earth, good will to men!'

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