George and Ghost, by Catriona Hoy & Cassia Thomas

George and Ghost were friends,
but George wasn’t sure he
believed in Ghost any more.

George and Ghost have always been friends, but now George is having doubts about whether or not Ghost is real. And if he’s not real, he will have to go away. Ghost wants him to prove it. So George sets about thinking of ways to discover if his friend is real or not. And by every scientific measure he uses, Ghost is not real. Now it’s up to Ghost to find a way to convince his friend that he is real. Illustrations are full page and warm colour and include many textural elements. George is very expressive and Ghost has delightful rosy cheeks, a little like George’s.

On the surface, George and Ghost is a story about friendship and the important things in life. But there’s another layer, that explores scientific principles and philosophy in a practical child-comprehensible way. In science, hypotheses are tested by experimenting and recording the outcomes. In the same way George tries to prove his friend real by displacing water and capturing images. In philosophy, notions of existence are also tested, if differently. Young children may well not be able to name the principles explored here, but they’ll have fun trying out the experiments that suggest themselves. And the principles may well feed their curiosity about, and enrich their understanding of, their world and just what constitutes ‘real’ and ‘not real’. Recommended for pre-school and early primary children.

George and Ghost

George and Ghost, Catriona Hoy, ill Cassia Thomas
Hodder 2010
ISBN: 9780340988862

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author

This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.