Christmas Spirit: Two Stories Paperback – Oct 1 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Vicarages, silver sixpences, "the banked sleekness of chestnuts" and good-hearted ghosts are among the trimmings that give these posthumously collected stories their old-fashioned charm. In "The Christmas Ghost," a boy delivering a dinner pail to his factory foreman father sees an apparition; his father scoffs, but the boy's willingness to believe his own vision averts a full-scale catastrophe. "The Christmas Cat," set, like the other story, in England between the wars, an upper-class 11-year-old spends Christmas with her bachelor uncle, and his small-minded, mean-spirited housekeeper. The Carnegie Medal-winning author can be trusted not to overdo the sentiment and, like a good gingerbread, both tales have sweetness, spice and bite. Ages 8-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gr. 5-7. Two Christmas stories look back at childhood in the north of England during the Depression. "Christmas Ghost" is vintage Westall, a terrifying supernatural encounter rooted in the cozy family preparations for the holiday. Riding alone in an elevator, a boy sees a ghost, who warns of terrible disaster; the sense of eerie claustrophobia will be recognized by everyone. Unfortunately, the story begins with so much nostalgic local color by an adult looking fondly back that kids might not read far enough to get to the thrilling upheaval. A grandmother tells the second story, "The Christmas Cat." She remembers when she was an unwanted holiday visitor staying with her ineffectual uncle and his bullying housekeeper. Secretly, with the help of a cheeky boy from the nearby slums, she shelters a homeless pregnant cat. There's a contrived nativity scene in a stable, where the sight of the newborn kittens transforms the uncle and routs the evil housekeeper; but the best part of the story is the teasing romance between the bold young girl and boy across class barriers. John Lawrence's occasional line drawings are a delight, capturing the warm, unsentimental characters that are the heart of these stories. Hazel Rochman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.