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Marie-Francine Hebert
Illustrated by Philippe Beha
Montreal, La courte echelle, 1991. 62pp, paper, $7.95
ISBN 2-89021-157-6. CIP

Grades 3 to 6/Ages 8 to 11

Reviewed by Doris Lemoine.

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

Ghost stories always have a certain appeal to young readers, even those who insist they do not believe in ghosts. Un fantome dans le miroir, Marie-Francine Hebert's seventh novel, is no exception.

Meli Melo, the heroine, is spending the night at her grandmother's house. Snuggled comfortably between crisp, white sheets, she shares a quiet moment with "mamie," and even a few precious mementoes from the secret closet. Her grandmother lets her borrow a pair of pretty pink slippers that had once belonged to her sister Vivi, deceased at an early age. As they are looking through on old photograph album, Meli Melo mistakes a young Vivi for herself, the resemblance being so striking.

In the very first pages, Marie-Francine Hebert sets the stage by creating a proper ambiance. As soon as the lights are out and Meli Melo is about to fall asleep, eerie sounds can be heard - the wooden floor creaks, the closet door springs open - and a cold draught rushes in. In the full-length mirror Meli Melo recognizes her face, but no! It can't be! Who is in the room with her? Our heroine's nocturnal adventures are enough to keep readers wide awake as they try to keep up with her and her ghost in a lively chase. One is almost relieved when morning comes!

Un fantome dans le miroir will provide an opportunity for youngsters to express some of their fears, describe some of their nightmares, and explain how they come to terms with them. It could also act as a stepping stone for budding young authors to writing additional ghost stories.

The bold print and short chapters, characteristic of books in this series, make it more accessible to Immersion students who are beginning readers in French. Teacher-librarians will find this a great story to read to a group of children, especially around Hallowe'en.

Doris Lemoine, Direction des ressources educatives francaises. Bureau de l'education francaise, Winnipeg, Man.
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