The Christmas Eve Ghost by Shirley Hughes is a children’s book about the hardship of the working class in 1930s Liverpool, but it is also a story about trusting in others, the survival of human kindness in tough times, and it is about accepting kindness when it is offered.
The siblings Bronwen and Dylan live with their mother in 1930s’ Liverpool. On Christmas Eve their mother leaves them home alone to run to the store, and while she is gone the children hear a strange sound. The siblings think they hear a ghost in the washroom, and they run scared out on the street into the arms of a friendly neighbor. Prior to this encounter Bronwen and Dylan have received strict instructions on sticking to themselves, but this Christmas Eve their neighbors show kindness to the children, and they solve the ghost mystery.
Hughes depicts life in the 1930s England with such great detail through both her writing and her illustrations that the young readers pay close attention. The vivid descriptions of their mother’s job as a wash lady as well as the children’s view of their world make the story come alive, and The Christmas Eve Ghost has a great message of human kindness.
Title: The Christmas Eve Ghost
Author: Shirley Hughes
Illustrator: Shirley Hughes
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (September 14, 2010)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Christmas Eve Ghost by Shirley Huges for the purpose of writing a book review. I did not receive any monetary compensation, and my review has not been influenced by anything other than my experience with the book. Versions of this review may have been posted on other websites and in printed publications.