________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 27. . . .March 18, 2016


An Old Manís Winter Night: Ghostly Tales.

Tom Dawe. Illustrated by Veselina Tomova.
Tors Cove, NL: Running the Goat Books, 2015.
60 pp., hardcover, $23.95.
ISBN 978-1097-917-04-6.

Grades 5-7 / Ages 10-12.

Review by Daphne Hamilton Nagorsen.

*** /4



Days, weeks, and months passed. Until a night in June with a wind off the water and sharp fir trees brushing against the sky. Shards of moonlight scattered on the waves. A solitary figure was walking along the road Ė the local clergyman returning from a wake on the other side of the cove. At the top of the hill he stopped to gaze out over the water.

All of a sudden it became very dark, as if a dense cloud had blotted out the moon. The clergyman looked up. All around him the natural world was transformed: ordinary things becoming ethereal. A cold mist, reeking of bilge water and brackish decay, brushed his face. Below him in the landwash, a shipís bell sounded, a sharp clang punctuating the breeze.

An eerie light defined rock and tuckamore. A few feet above the ground, a luminous fogbank appeared, wavering. Then he saw it. He couldnít believe his eyes. A fully rigged schooner, canvas flapping, was floating across the land.


An Old Manís Winter Night is a collection of stories based on folk tales from Newfoundland and Labrador. From ghostly ships to people to dogs, this collection showcases some fascinating ghostly tales.

     Some of the stories are creepy, some are sad and some are just interesting. The variety of stories means that every reader can find a favourite story or two.

     Tom Dawe collected the original tales in An Old Manís Winter Night from around Newfoundland and Labrador. There are some brief notes on each story at the end of the book, including the source of the story. These notes are quite interesting and can be used as a springboard to further discussions about ghost and folk takes.

     Some of the words in the stories may be unfamiliar to readers, and there is a good glossary at the end that will help define these words. The glossary includes more general words, such as bilge water and root cellar, as well as words that may be more specific to the geographic origins of the stories, such as landwash and tuckamore.

     The illustrations by Veselina Tomova are an excellent choice for a book like An Old Manís Winter Night. The illustrations are wood cuts, and the end result, with the thick lines and strong shapes, adds to the atmosphere of the stories. Colour has been very carefully added, with very little colour in some illustrations, which enhances both the illustration and the story being illustrated.

     An Old Manís Winter Night is an interesting read for readers of many ages, especially those with an interest in ghost stories or folk tales.


Daphne Hamilton Nagorsen is a graduate of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

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

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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