A young boy celebrates Christmas with a ghost in Jimmy Takes Vanishing Lessons (1950, Walter Brooks, with illustrations by Don Bolognese.)
The "vanishing lessons" are among several supernatural tricks taught Jimmy by a friendly ghost found living in the long abandoned home of his grandfather. He is also taught how to make his eyes glare with fire (as pictured above), the perfect thing to brighten up Christmas morning.
They first meet when Jimmy Crandall decides to investigate the dark and gloomy neighborhood haunted house to prove it isn't really haunted at all.
To Jimmy's surprise, there really is a ghost, but the unnamed spectre is more frightened of Jimmy than he is of it!
Eventually a delicate friendship develops, and the ghost offers to teach him a few supernatural tricks, like floating through keyholes.
Later, Jimmy invites the lonely ghost back to his house to meet his Aunt.
I've always liked the illustrations of Don Bolognese, who has lent his talents to a few other prominent titles from my childhood, among them The Book That Jason Wrote, The Ghost of Windy Hill, and The Wicked Pigeon Ladies in the Garden (a.k.a. The Wicked, Wicked Ladies in the Haunted House).
Jimmy Takes Vanishing Lessons is still in print.
3 years ago
Thank you for making me aqainted with this wonderful illustrator and his books!
This story is also featured in ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S HAUNTED HOUSEFUL and on the Alfred Hitchcock record album: Ghost Stories for Young People
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