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My Brother's Ghost


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About the Author

In the early 1960s, Allan studied teacher training in Sunderland, where he also met Janet, his future wife. He had tackled a wide variety of jobs, ranging from postman to plumber's mate before working as a primary teacher for ten years. Janet, however, discovering that she 'couldn't do the policing job', went on to study graphic design, which led her to her vocation as an illustrator. Several years later, bored with her then current job, and desperate for a creative opening, Janet asked Allan to write a children's book for her to illustrate. Allan, having always wanted to write but being unable to find his niche, suddenly felt 'as though he was a clockwork toy and she had turned the key'. So began the career which would later lead them to become one of Britain's most successful author/illustrator teams, producing ingenious books of the highest quality. Influenced by comics and cartoons, their perfect partnership went on to produce masterpieces including PEEPO!, which reflected Allan's childhood ('I am the Peepo! baby.'), EACH PEACH PEAR PLUM and THE BABY'S CATALOGUE. These books have all become children's classics, with their 'rhythmic prose, their mix of dottiness and sentiment appealing both to young children and to the parents who read them aloud' (Louette Harding, The Daily Mail). Working together, they saw their books as more than simply the combin


Gr 6 Up-Working-class England in 1956 is the setting for this story. The protagonist is 9 when the book opens, but she narrates the events from her 51st year looking back. Tragedy strikes orphaned Frances Fogarty when her 10-year-old brother is struck by a milk-float and dies. Then the boy appears at his own funeral, and only Frances and her three-year-old brother, Harry, can see him. Tom does his best to protect and to guide Frances past her strict, often mean aunts and a bully at school. However, after being punished for stealing, she runs away with Harry in tow and ends up sinking in the canal. Tom saves her and things improve at home. A few years later, Tom's dog dies and the two of them disappear together. So much happens that it is hard to cover all the bases. The writing is excellent, and the characters and time period are nicely constructed and skillfully evoked. However, the intended audience is difficult to define. The story is very short, but the vocabulary is intense. It's a ghost story that isn't scary and an affecting family tale that centers on the supernatural. It's likely to be a shelf sitter.-Timothy Capehart, Leominster Public Library, MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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