How to Make Friends With a Ghost by Rebecca Green

How to Make Friends With a Ghost by Rebecca Green
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Holiday, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

What do you do when you meet a ghost? One: Provide the ghost with some of its favorite snacks, like mud tarts and earwax truffles. Two: Tell your ghost bedtime stories (ghosts love to be read to). Three: Make sure no one mistakes your ghost for whipped cream or a marshmallow when you aren’t looking! If you follow these few simple steps and the rest of the essential tips in How to Make Friends with a Ghost, you’ll see how a ghost friend will lovingly grow up and grow old with you.

A whimsical story about ghost care, Rebecca Green’s debut picture book is a perfect combination of offbeat humor, quirky and sweet illustrations, and the timeless theme of friendship.

It’s never too early to celebrate Halloween!

The nice thing about this tale was that it felt like Halloween but had a more generic autumn setting. This meant that it could be read in other cool, chilly months – or even not so chilly months – without me feeling like I was a reading something too out of season. There are spooky things to be found all throughout the year, after all, and it encouraged me to see what might make me shudder no matter when I might reread it.

There were some portions that I thought were far too scary for this age group. For example, one scene warned the reader not to eat their pet ghost and showed illustrations of ghosts who had been fried, baked, grilled, and otherwise turned into food. That could have been funny for older kids, but many of the little ones I’ve known would find it terrifying. If only the tone of that scene had remained lighthearted and playful like the rest of it was!

The portions that read like a pet care manual made me grin. Yes, of course there are similarities between taking care of a ghost and a more traditional companion like a rabbit, cat, or dog. This was a clever way to explain how hauntings work in this universe, and it makes me want to see what else the author has written.

I also found myself wondering why anyone would want to lure a ghost into their home in the first place. Most stories are about trying to get rid of the spirits haunting a person or a place, after all! It would have been help for the author to clarify what they were thinking there.

The last few scenes were unusual for this genre. It involved the main character growing old and their ghost reacting to that change. I don’t want to say much else about that to avoid sharing spoilers, but it could be a good jumping off point for discussions about aging and how families take care of each other.

How to Make Friends With a Ghost was creative.