Kate Culhane: A Ghost Story

Kate Culhane: A Ghost Story

5.0 1
by Michael Hague
     
 

Michael Hague has crafted some of his most haunting paintings to date in this splendid retelling of a spellbinding tale from Irish folklore. It all begins one fateful evening when young Kate steps on a freshly dug grave. She is powerless to refuse when an unearthly voice commands her to dig up his coffin...but the worst is yet to come. How can Kate free herself

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Overview

Michael Hague has crafted some of his most haunting paintings to date in this splendid retelling of a spellbinding tale from Irish folklore. It all begins one fateful evening when young Kate steps on a freshly dug grave. She is powerless to refuse when an unearthly voice commands her to dig up his coffin...but the worst is yet to come. How can Kate free herself from the evil spirit and save the life of the one she loves?
One of America's most beloved painters of fantasy presents a rousing ghost story for older picture book readers, perfect for campfires, sleepovers, and Halloween storytelling.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
When Kate accidentally steps on a newly dug grave, she discovers she cannot move her foot. A voice instructs her to open the grave and she is compelled to lift the dead man onto her back and carry him to the village. He instructs her to carry him to a house in which there is no holy water. With no water to mix with oatmeal for his meal, he tells Kate to carry him upstairs where he draws blood from the three young men asleep in their beds. Using her quick wits and all her strength, Kate is able to defeat the ghost and gain a husband and a treasure in the bargain. Hague has based his version on "The Blood-Drawing Ghost" transcribed from the Gaelic in the 1890s by Jeremiah Curtin and published in his collection Tales of the Fairies and of the Ghost World. He successfully places his own touches on this widely popular and chilling Irish ghost story. His illustrations, in dark and murky earth tones, create an eerie atmosphere for the tale. The endpapers, showing Kate carrying the dead man on her back silhouetted against a midnight blue sky, are particularly engaging. 2001, SeaStar Books/North-South Books, $15.95 and $15.88. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up-Kate outwits a ghost and her own ill-fortune in this retelling of a traditional Irish tale set in the mid-1800s. After she steps on a newly filled grave, the dead man forces her to care for him by preparing oatmeal mixed with freshly drawn human blood. By pretending to eat her share while secreting it away in her scarf, she provides the means of reviving the young men whose blood she has drawn. Subsequent quick thinking on her part secures a rosy future for herself. The watercolor illustrations draw on the dark end of Hague's usual earth-tone palette and depict a desolate village and eerie graveyard. The dead man's ragged clothing, clawlike hands, and gaunt face match the text for spine-tingling appeal. As in the best folktales, the telling retains a consistent sense of time and place in both the text and the illustrations. A note names Jeremiah Curtin as the tale's original collector. Other less lyrical versions include "Mary Culhane and the Dead Man" in Molly Bang's The Goblins Giggle and Other Stories (Peter Smith, 1988) and Robert San Souci's "The Blood-Drawing Ghost" in Even More Short and Shivery (Delacorte, 1997). From the haunting endpapers on, this fluidly retold and memorably illustrated tale is perfect scary-story fare for middle-grade programming.-Faith Brauti- gam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A shivery ghost story from Ireland that will surely appeal to lovers of the macabre. Young Kate Culhane finds that nothing goes well for her after her mother dies. One darkening day she accidentally steps on a newly dug grave and is caught by the ghostly figure beneath it. He commands her to carry him on her back to town, and she must obey. Rejecting two households where he senses holy water, he makes her take him inside a merchant's house, where he forces her to make him a grisly repast: oatmeal mixed with the blood of the house's three sons. Kate hides her portion of the meal in her kerchief, and when she is forced to carry the ghost back, she escapes sharing the grave with him, but not before learning the secret of his gold and of the restoration of the three boys. She makes the merchant promise that she can marry the oldest if she restores his sons to life. Thereupon, she feeds them the saved oatmeal and blood. All goes well, and Kate has her new husband dig up the ghost's gold, which they share with all. Spectral figures, Gothic hues, and Rackham-esque lines are used very effectively in the watercolor pictures, which are fully as scary as the text. (source note) "(Picture book/folktale. 9-12)"

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781587170584
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
07/01/2001
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
1.00(w) x 1.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

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