Sunday, November 1, 2015

Short Story Sunday [14]

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Retold by Alvin Schwartz
Illustrated by Stephen Gammell

This week I'm doing a collection of short stories in one review.  Since each story is so short I'm not going to separate them out.

Section one of this collection is stories to tell to scare your friends.  I found these all to be pretty dumb.  Each one your supposed to start telling, then at the end just scream or shout something, or make a loud noise.   None of the stories has a resolution, just just to catch your listener off guard.

Section two of the collection is ghost stories.  These were actual ghost stories, they were creepy and exactly what should be in a children's book of scary stories.  My favorite of these was The White Wolf and The Guests.  But really, I loved all the stories in this section.

Section three of the collection is about everything that doesn't fit into a different category.  These were silly, but still very enjoyable.  I especially liked A New Horse and Room for One More.  The Dead Man's Brains game was fun too.

Section four is all recent scary stories. These were okay.  The White Satin Evening Gown bothered me, there's no way you can be poisoned to death by trace amounts of embalming fluid on a dress.  It just can't happen.  That story probably caused some poor girls to be traumatized about wearing second hand clothes.  Oh, and fun fact, a lot of fabric is treated with formaldehyde.

The fifth and final section of the collection are "scary" stories which are supposed to make you laugh.  I didn't find any of them overly funny, but The Slithery-Dee did get a chuckle out of me.  

Overall the way Schwartz wrote the stories was very matter of fact, none of them were told to be scary.  And for the first section, you don't need cheap tricks to scare your friends, there are plenty of scary stories with light-hearted endings so you can scare your friends, but not traumatize them.  For the artwork, Gammell's drawing are great! They're by far the scariest part of the book.  The drawings were so creepy they didn't really go with the stories, which all veered towards the side of silly.

I give this collection a 7/10.  It does it's job for little kids without scaring them, but it could have been done better with the same effect.

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween full of spooky happenings and lots of candy!

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