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Hugh, Susan
Toronto, Doubleday Canada, 1992. 171 pp, paper, $13.50, ISBN 0-385-25352-4. CIP

Grades 1 to 4/Ages 6 to 9

Reviewed by Donna Doyle

Volume 20 Number 5
1992 October

A Ghost in My Mirror, translated by Sarah Cummins and illustrated by Phillipe Germain, tells of a little girl who learns to stand up to her fear and overcome it.

Poppy is sleeping overnight at her grandmother's house, all alone. At bedtime her grandmother shows her old photographs, one of a little girl who looks just like her. It's Gran's sister Daisy, who died when she was Poppy's age. "I remember her in this very room ...," Gran says. Then she gives Poppy a pair of Daisy's slippers.

Despite Poppy's insistence that she doesn't believe in ghosts, an icy draft and an image in the mirror lead her to a scary adventure until she takes control and makes the ghost disappear.

The story fear of the dark, of death, of sleeping in a different house is one children can easily identify with. But the language is flat; it sounds like an adult, not a child. "Talk about a tall tale," the book begins ... so who's going to believe for a minute? There are just too many words to provide dramatic effect. When a closet door opens all by itself, we get four sentences explaining Poppy's fear before she screams "Help!"

The illustrations are fun with Gran's bony elbows and Poppy's frightened face. The description of the little ghost-girl's bedroom, spider webs on the ceiling and a slab of rock for a bed, another rock for a pillow, is the most touching piece in the book. I would recommend this book as an optional rather than an essential purchase.

Donna Doyle is a freelance reporter living in Rocky Bay, Nova Scotia, and a member of the Eastern Counties Regional Library Board

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