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The Ghost on the Hearth

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In the summer of her twelfth year, a poor girl named Emily leaves home to work on a farm in rural Quebec. Besides cooking and cleaning, Emily’s chores include, every night, scraping the candlewax from the family’s big stone hearth. The farmer and his wife love Emily, but when she falls ill and dies, another girl is hired to take her place. Soon, a strange event keeps recurring in the farmhouse: Every night, the new girl, Jenny, scrapes the wax from the hearth just as Emily did, but every morning, the wax is there...

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0916718182 Brand NEW Book - Moderate shelf-wear. ~ all books carefully examined & well packaged

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Overview

In the summer of her twelfth year, a poor girl named Emily leaves home to work on a farm in rural Quebec. Besides cooking and cleaning, Emily’s chores include, every night, scraping the candlewax from the family’s big stone hearth. The farmer and his wife love Emily, but when she falls ill and dies, another girl is hired to take her place. Soon, a strange event keeps recurring in the farmhouse: Every night, the new girl, Jenny, scrapes the wax from the hearth just as Emily did, but every morning, the wax is there again! What is going on? The first night the farmer and his wife fail to solve the mystery. But on the second night, the farmer’s wife snaps awake to find herself staring at . . . a ghost!

In classic, supple prose, acclaimed author Susan Milord retells a legend passed down by a French-Canadian family since the 1830s. Illustrated with lively, beautiful paintings by award-winning artist Lydia Dabcovich, The Ghost on the Hearth is both a thrilling tale of the supernatural and an affectionate celebration of long-ago rural life. An activities page at the end of the volume invites young readers to create their own stories of the supernatural.

As was the custom in 1800s rural Quebec, Emily, the eldest of a poor family, is sent to live and work at a nearby farm, where her unexpected death is followed by a mysterious nocturnal event.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“These stories are a valuable tool.”—Boston Globe

“[Milord] unfolds the story through a cautious progression of page turns, steadily building the hair-prickling tension to an optimum dramatic level, and yet she skillfully treats each ghostly event with an air of calm that keeps the fear factor pulsating at a low pitch for younger ears.”—ForeWord

Publishers Weekly
In another addition to the Vermont Folklife Center series, a farmer and his wife discover strange happenings in The Ghost on the Hearth by Susan Milford, illus. by Lydia Dabcovich. Every morning they find wax on the hearth, even though their hired girl cleans it every night. This gentle ghost story paints an evocative portrait of life in 19th-century rural Quebec. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
From "The Family Heritage" series comes this ghost legend based on a family's oral account of a supposed actual event. Dating back to the 1820s or 1830s, the occurrence took place on a farm outside of Quebec. It was then customary to relieve economic stress by sending daughters off to become domestic helpers for families who could, in return, provide room and board. Twelve-year-old Emily is such a servant, who is loved by her new family right up until the winter when she dies. Jenny soon replaces Emily and continues with the same chores, including cleaning candle wax off the hearth each evening. But when the wax reappears each morning, the farmer and his wife try to stay up late to uncover the mystery. It turns out that Emily's guilt-ridden ghost has been appearing each night to burn candles in penance. The illustrations are detailed full-color paintings faithful to the customs of the times. Wooden shoes, white caps, aprons, and plaited hair dress the females; a wood stove, spinning wheel, and hearth appear in the interior farmhouse. The delicate ghost figure is more intriguing than scary (though the white cat is quite taken aback). Children will want to know why the ghost appears and, when they find out, will be surprised at the hardships of that era. The story is simple and straightforward and derives its strength from the fact that it "really" happened. At the end of the book, there are suggestions to inspire a reader's own storytelling groups. 2003, The Vermont Folklife Center, Ages 5 to 8.
— Carol Raker Collins, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-In this 19th-century, French-Canadian tale, a poor family sends its eldest daughter to work on a farm. Emily's duties include cooking, sewing, and cleaning the wax drippings from the stone hearth. When she suddenly dies, another girl, Jenny, is hired to take her place. Oddly, the wax that she dutifully removes every evening reappears in the morning. The farmer's wife sits up all night to solve the mystery. Emily's ghost appears to the woman and confesses that she used to take candle stubs to give to her family and when she died, she was condemned to burn as many candles as she had taken. Milord's retelling keeps the action moving quickly and Dabcovich's folk-art illustrations build suspense and convey an eerie atmosphere. An afterword includes details about the tale's origins. A good addition to storytelling collections.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780916718183
  • Publisher: Vermont Folklife Center
  • Publication date: 7/1/2003
  • Series: Family Heritage Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

SUSAN MILORD is the award-winning author of eight books for children, including Willa the Wonderful (2003) and Mexico! (1999). She was born in Connecticut and currently lives in Norwich, Vermont. LYDIA DABCOVICH is the author and illustrator of The Polar Bear Son (1999) and Sleepy Bear (1993). She lives in Brookline, MA where she teaches graphic design.

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