Kids seem to naturally gravitate to stories of unlikely friends. That’s exactly what they’ll find in How to Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green. Perfect for the Halloween season, in this sweet story, we’re introduced to a young girl who befriends an adorable, otherworldly spirit. Their friendship spans the girl’s lifetime: as a girl, a young adult, a mother and finally, an elderly woman. And though it may sound a bit morbid, when the girl/woman passes away and becomes a ghost herself, it’s instead very heartwarming to see their friendship endure beyond the mortal world. I promise, it’s cute, not creepy!
The book is very striking in that it appears to have been illustrated in a different era. The illustrations evoke a 1960s aesthetic and are very pleasing to the eye. Though it is a picture book, it’s longer than most, broken into 3 parts: Ghost Basics, Ghost Care and Growing Together.
Ghost Basics are very short and sweet: Don’t run screaming from a ghost, be friendly, invite them into your home and never stick your hand through them! I will say that I read this book with my son when he was convinced that a vampire lived in his closet so it helped to bridge the gap between real and fake. I won’t pretend that he doesn’t still keep the light on in his closet a year later BUT… I never hear concerns about ghosts anymore.
Ghost Care is still fairly intuitive: feed your ghost snacks they enjoy, take them on walks on spooky trails and go trick or treating together. There are several helpful snack ideas, though you might not have some of the necessary ingredients (witch hair, spider egg spaghetti) in your pantry. A shopping trip may be in order if you plan to make friends with your own ghost. As for bedtime, a mossy bed in the darkest corner of the attic is preferred… and don’t forget the eerie lullaby while you’re at it!
In Growing Together, you’ll learn how to stay friends as you become an adult. For instance, when you get your own place, make sure there aren’t any other ghosts already in the house. Ghosts hate competition! Consider taking your ghost to work with you. And when you have children of your own, don’t hesitate to let them spend time together. After all, ghosts love to play peek-a-boo! When you’re older and can no longer read the pages of your favorite book, your ghost will read to you. When you can’t remember your favorite jokes, your ghost will be there to keep you laughing.
In the end, this is a story about how we all need friends, even adorable little ghosts. Sometimes we might come across a potential new friend who challenges what we thought we knew about friendship. Should we give them a chance? What if we’ve never had a friend like them before? Change can be so scary, no matter your age. How to Make Friends with a Ghost is great story to have in your home library for those bedtime chats about friends who build us up and challenge us to be better friends to others.