“An engaging story . . . offering readers the enduring promise of hope.”—ALA Booklist (starred review)
Ever since his father died, Dennis has been seeing ghosts. Lots of ghosts. They blow in on the breeze, visit for a while, and fly off again. But one night the ghost of his Uncle Arvie floats in the window. And Arvie wants to do more than chat. Together, they find a lost love letter, finish a special painting, and dig up buried treasure—all for Arvie’s widow, Julia. Dennis loves having his uncle around again, but there’s still one ghost he’s longing to see. Perhaps on the next ghost wind . . .
Parents’ Choice Gold Award
Three rather different things came together to inspire this book:
I’d been teaching Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a play in which, early on, a ghost (Hamlet’s father) appears, and my class had been talking about why ghosts (if there are such things) might arrive. One reason, we speculated, was because they needed help in completing an unfinished task.
My father, Arvel, had a stroke, which left him unable to speak correctly. Sometimes the sounds and words that came out of his mouth were both funny (their sounds) and sad (because he couldn’t say what he meant).
After my father died, my mother found a love letter he had written her fifty years earlier. As I reread that letter, I had the reassuring feeling that he was there again, in the room. So out of that came the story of the ghost of Uncle Arvie, who can’t speak correctly, and who visits his nephew Dennis, in hopes that Dennis can help him complete three unfinished tasks. One of these involves a love letter to his wife.
The dog, Bo, is named after a neighbor’s dog, but has the personality of a golden retriever we once had. People often ask where Uncle Arvie’s strange words came from. Most of them just popped into the air. For some, I wanted words that either sounded like or began with the same letter as the “real” word. For example: pepperoni for papa; macaroni for mama; dinosaur for Dennis. Other words just sounded funny, like wig pasta and deester.