________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 30 . . . . April 10, 2015


Ten of the Best Ghost Stories. (Ten of the Best Myths, Legends & Folk Stories).

David West.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2015.
24 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & html, $8.95 (pbk.), $18.36 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-0819-3 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-0822-3 (RLB.), ISBN 978-1-4271-7741-4 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4271-7733-9 (html).

Subject Heading:

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.

Review by Chris Laurie.

*** /4


In 1879, Lord Dufferin, the British Ambassador to France, was on vacation with a friend in Ireland. One night, he awoke from an uneasy sleep and heard footsteps in the garden below. Looking out from his bedroom window, he saw a figure carrying a coffin on his back.

Lord Dufferin lit a lamp and made his way down the stairs and out into the garden. He approached the figure and demanded to know what he was doing.

“You’re trespassing on private property,” he said. The figure turned to face him and Lord Dufferin stepped back in shock. Staring at him was a face with the sunken cheeks and ghastly grin of a corpse. Its shrivelled body had ancient leathery skin. The figure turned without a word and walked away. It turned into mist, then vanished.

The next morning Lord Dufferin shared the tale of his encounter with his host who could shed no light on the event, as there had been no previous sightings of ghosts. Four years later, Lord Dufferin attended a party at the Grand Hotel in Paris. He was about to step into the elevator, when he suddenly spotted the terrifying figure from Ireland, dressed as the elevator operator. (From "A Ghostly Warning".)


Another solid addition to the “Ten of the Best Myths, Legends & Folk Stories” series by Crabtree. Ten classic ghost stories are retold, each on one double-page spread in this richly illustrated, full-colour introduction of the genre for ages 8 and up. From classical Greek and Roman myths to ancient Japanese folktales to oral North American indigenous tales, Ten of the Best Ghost Stories gives young readers a brief version of each classic tale, successfully capturing what has made each so enduring. Care has been taken to select tales from various time periods, cultures and geographic regions. Some are familiar (“Headless Horseman”), some lesser so (“Banshee”), but these tales are sure to give young readers goose bumps and have them keen on learning more about each tale.

     Fact boxes add additional details to help readers better understand concepts in the story as well as the time period in which each story is set. This volume presents a highly appealing, basic introduction to the ghost story genre, presented in easy to read text. A glossary and index are located at the back of the book with glossary terms bolded within the text.

     David West is the author and illustrator of dozens of children's information books on subjects ranging from dinosaurs and mythology to technology and science.


Chris Laurie is an Outreach Librarian at the Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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