This book was reviewed via Netgalley
The Scariest Stories Ever Told is a collection of eerie, and ghostly tales akin to the chronicles penned by Alan Schwartz in the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series. Man, I had all of those books as a kid. I would have loved to add this one to my collection at that age. As it was, several of my cubs borrowed my ereader and had a ball reading the stories aloud. Even as adults, Jonas and I quite enjoyed them as well.
The book is broken into several categories, whose titles are pretty much self-explanatory. The first is ‘Something’s Not Safe at School’. These stories all happened either on school property, or while school kids are on a field trip. Our favourite was The Stick Man. Talk about creepy!
Next is ‘Shadows in the Woods and by the Water’. As you may guess, these tales focus on encounters in fen and lake, vale and forest. We really liked The River Crow. Of course, our family does have an affinity for corvids. In some world folklore, these birds are spirit birds, associated with, among others, the Morrigan. This triple goddess is a fierce warrior associated with death. Then there’s the giant demon crow Yata Garasu made notable today as a Yu-Gi-Oh! card.
‘Welcome to Your New Home’ deals with moving to a new location, either by a family move or by being orphaned. My favourite story from this section is Silly Question. I know the cat involved isn’t supposed to be a cait sidhe, but it really reminds me of the tales of phantom cats from Celtic lore. Like the cu sidhe, the black dogs, these larger than average supernatural kitties can have quite the temper. Mark My Words was very creepy to me. Fire and sociopaths should never meet…
‘Things Aren’t Always What They Seem’ is, again, pretty self-explanatory. These stories all have a bit of a surprise to them. My favourite was The Bookworm. Haha. And in the future, I’m going to tread careful at book signings! My cubs, on the other hand, loved Costume Party. Being the savvy adults, Jonas and I saw where it was going pretty quickly. Then it was fun to see when it hit each of them. Surprisingly, none of those who figured it out said anything, and there were squeals of glee from the youngest at the reveal. Was I ever that young? Perhaps a better question, was I ever not cynical and suspicious?
‘Better Not Mess with What’s Best Left Alone’ is the final section. Sometimes there are things you just shouldn’t mess with. Rest in Pieces, about the consequences of disturbing a grave, and Swampers, about the creatures of the swamp getting their own back against humans hunting them, were our favourites. I also really liked Fireflies, though it seemed more appropriate for the previous section.
All told, this was a wonderful, well-crafted collection of scary stories perfect for younger audiences for whom serious horror is a little harsh yet. These make great read-aloud stories for storytelling groups. Perhaps, come Halloween, we can gather a neighbourhood group of kids for just such an occasion. Our backyard renovations should be just done and we can use the fire pit!
???? Recommended for fans of spooky tales perfect for the campfire. If you like Alan Schwartz’ work, you’ll love this collection of chilling chestnuts