What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

The Ghosts of Hungryhouse Lane
This topic is about The Ghosts of Hungryhouse Lane
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SOLVED: Children's/YA > SOLVED. Juvenile/YA -- Ghosts befriend children. [s]

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message 1: by M— (last edited Feb 24, 2011 04:31AM) (new) - added it

M— | 379 comments Confirmed Solved:
The Ghosts of Hungryhouse Lane by Sam McBratney (1989)

Right. Here's another childhood book I'm trying to dig up:

It was about a family with some children, probably several children of both genders, who moved into an old house located in England. The house happened to be haunted by several ghosts, and these ghosts made friends with the children. I'm afraid I only remember a few details, just about a couple of the ghosts.

One ghost died a young woman when a friendly elephant accidentally brained her. (See? Distinctive.) The elephant was sort of a pet and had a scab behind his ear. The woman was bathing the scab, the grateful elephant patted her on the head, and this act finished her off on the spot. The elephant was then killed and bits of him were made into things. At the time of the book, the young woman was haunting the remnants of one of the elephant's legs, which had been made into an umbrella stand, but she died in Africa or India.

The second ghost has been little more than a child when she died, and she died at the old house. The child had worked as a chimney sweep and suffocated inside of a chimney. She had been very shy as a ghost, but became quite close with one child and confided her story to that child, who then told the other living children and cried throughout the entire retelling. The ghost talked about how she was often starved so that she would stay small to better fit inside chimneys, and the man who basically owned her would force her to crawl up chimneys by shoving her up the chimney mouth and pinching her bare feet and by lighting a smoky fire under her. The living child described the ghost has having died by 'swallowing soot.'

(I developed my macabre tastes rather early in life.)

The copy I read was likely a public library book, and I likely read it in the late 80s/early 90s. If it had any illustrations, they would have been occasional and simple sketches. I remember nothing else about it. :( Does it ring any bells for anyone?


message 2: by stormhawk (new)

stormhawk | 184 comments Sounds entertaining, but no familiarity for me. I would enjoy reading it as well. Sounds quirky.


message 3: by M— (new) - added it

M— | 379 comments I've been suggested that perhaps I am looking for The Ghosts of Hungryhouse Lane (Amazon info). I should be able to track down a library copy this week and find out if this is it for sure.


message 4: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) | 1396 comments M— wrote: "I've been suggested that perhaps I am looking for The Ghosts of Hungryhouse Lane (Amazon info). I should be able to track down a library copy this week and find out if this is it for..."

Thanks, M-, I hope that's it. Please return and let us know. Thanks.


message 5: by M— (last edited Feb 24, 2011 04:33AM) (new) - added it

M— | 379 comments Confirmed, guys! It is The Ghosts of Hungryhouse Lane!

That specific elephant scene I had been remembering?
Cordelia hovered in the attic twilight, her soft and elegant outline turning like a ballerina on a music box. Her husband had been with Lord Clive in old India. One day, as she was bathing a scab behind her elephant's ear, the grateful beast had patted her on the head and finished her off on the spot.

They shot the offending elephant, which Cordelia did not like one bit, but of course she was only a ghost by that time and couldn't do a thing about it. They turned Rajah's tusks in to chess pieces and his feet into umbrella stands. Ghosts, people sometimes fail to realize, tend to haunt things rather than places -- they usually attach themselves to something connected with what made them ghosts in the first place, and Cordelia, for her part, took refuge in one of Rajah's feet.
Thank you all for your help!


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