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Pleasing the Ghost by Sharon Creech, Stacey Schuett - Juvenile Fiction
Newbery Medal winner and master storyteller Sharon Creech spins a wonderfully funny and tender tale, now with fresh and gorgeous new cover art! As nine-year-old Dennis confronts the ghost of his uncle Arvie, Arvie's eccentric antics and wonderful wordplay keep the reader laughing. But at its tender heart, the story reveals the holes left in our lives when we lose the ones we love.
Ever since nine-year-old Dennis's dad died, a veritable parade of ghosts has been passing through his bedroom. When the ghost of his uncle Arvie blows into his room on a warm breeze, Dennis isn't surprised, but Uncle Arvie is the first ghost who wants something from Dennis.
Dennis would love to help Uncle Arvie, but he can't quite understand what Uncle Arvie is asking for. What, for example, is "Fraggle pin Heartfoot a wig pasta"? Dennis has to find out, because this is one ghost who isn't going to leave until he gets what he came for.
Uncle Arvie's antics and Dennis's attempts to please his ghost form the heart of this touching story.
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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...
Pleasing the GhostBy: Sharon Creech, Stacey Schuett