Pleasing the Ghostby Sharon Creech, Stacey Schuett
Nine-year-old Dennis, whose uncle and father died within a year of each other, is visited by the ghost of his uncle, and together they settle some unfinished business.
This featherweight fantasy is mildly amusing, but those who have experienced the death of a parent may be pained by Dennis's hope, portrayed as a perfectly reasonable wish, that his father's ghost will visit him soon. Black-and-white chapter decorations further lighten the fare.
- Harpercollins Childrens Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.00(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.25(d)
- Age Range:
- 9 - 12 Years
Read an Excerpt
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I'm Dennis, your basic, ordinary nine-year-old boy, and usually I live a basic, ordinary life. I go to school, I take care of my dog, I eat, I sleep. Sometimes, though, my life is not so ordinary. This is because of the ghosts.
Another one arrived last week. It came on the wind, like the others. It's not an ordinary wind that brings these ghosts-it's a bare whisper of wind that tickles the curtains. No one feels or hears this wind except me and my dog, Bo.
The first ghost came a month after my father died. It was my great gran, but I didn't know she was a ghost. She seemed real enough to me. When I mentioned Great Gran's visit to my mother, she said, "Dennis, Great Gran's in heaven."
"Not last night she wasn't," I said.
A month later my old cat, Choo, flew in my bedroom window. I could see him plain as anything, but he felt as light as a leaf. When I held his puckered old face up to my mother, she pressed her hand against my forehead. "Oh Dennis," she said. "Not feeling well? Choo's been dead for six months."
There have been other ghosts since Choo and Great Gran. There was an old man who used to live next door, a woman who said she had lived two hundred years ago, and a policeman. A constant parade of ghosts, but never the one I really want.
I asked the policeman ghost, "Why do ghosts visit me? Why don't they visit anyone else I know?"
"You didn't send for us? Sometimes we're sent for."
"I didn't send for you," I said. I hadn't sent for Choo or Great Gran either, though it was nice to see them. And I certainly hadn't sent for the dead old man or woman."But if I did send for a specific ghost, would he come?"
"Hard to say," he said. "Can't always go where we aim! I was just out riding on the wind, and this is where it brought me. Thought maybe you sent for me."
Imagine! To ride on the wind and whiz into people's windows like that!
Last Friday, as I climbed into bed, I heard one of the whispering winds. When my mother came in to say good night, I asked her if a storm was coming.
" Storm? I don't think so. Look how calm it is. Not even a breeze out there."
So I knew that this was another ghost wind. Soon it would be followed by a faint whistle, and then the wind would swirl and roll and twist in through the room trailing a cloud of blue smoke. Out of that blue smoke would step a ghost. That's how it happens. It doesn't matter if the window is open or not. The wind and the ghost will come right through it.
I've tried to tell my friends and teachers about these ghosts, but they just laugh. "What an imagination I" my teachers say. One boy at school, Billy Baker, punched me in the chest. "You don't see no ghosts, you stupid liar," he said.
Billy was new at our school. My teacher sat him next to me. She whispered, "You and Billy have something in common. I know you'll be nice to him."
Nice to him! I tried, but he was the grumpiest crab I'd ever met. After he punched me for no good reason, I decided someone else could be nice to him. And as for having something in common-hah! The only things we seemed to have in common were that we were both boys and we were in the same class.
Bo whimpered in his sleep. Did he sense what was coming? The wind whistled, and the curtains curled in the air. Bo's yellow fur stood on end.
The ghosts had never hurt me, but still I was afraid. What if it was a wicked, horrible ghost? But I also wanted to know who it would be. Maybe it would be the one ghost I wanted, the one ghost I prayed for, the one ghost I'd sent for.
I had an odd, quivery feeling as that wind blew harder, reeling and rolling through the window, twisting the curtains high into the air. Bo crawled up beside me and covered his ears with his paws.
"Get ready, Bo. Here comes the ghost."
Whish! blew the wind. Whew! The curtains flew this way and that, knocking a book off my desk. Whisk! My socks lifted off the floor and danced in the air.
Bo scooted around in a circle, trying to get his head under the covers.
Whish! Whisk! The curtains flipped into the air and sank down again, wrapping their ends around the chair. Suddenly the wind calmed. In came a quiet stream of air and a wisp of blue smoke, which swirled and floated across the room.
"Here it comes, Bo. We're about to have a visitor."
The blue smoke twisted and twirled, floating down to the floor and forming itself into a pair of green boots.
"It's here, Bo!"
The smoke formed a sturdy pair of legs in blue trousers. Next appeared a purple sweater across a big chest and arms. The smoke wiggled and wobbled and formed into a head topped by a red cowboy hat.
The ghost had arrived.Pleasing the Ghost. Copyright © by Sharon Creech. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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