Friday, October 25, 2013

Review Me Twice: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

I was ridiculously underwhelmed by this book. It has been on banned books lists. It's scary stories for kids, which I usually love. It's classic to my generation, because I know several people around my age who remember it as being terrifying, or at least leaving an impression.

For the record, I read the version on the right up there. The one illustrated by Brett Helquist. (For more about the difference between the two, see my post yesterday about the illustrations.) I think that allowed me to pay more attention to the lackluster stories.

Perhaps as a kid, I might have found some of them more interesting and scary. But as an adult, I know all these stories. I've seen the Urban Legend series of movies, as well as Scream, and I attended my fair share of sleepovers back when I was a Girl Scout. None of this was new or interesting to me. (And if I recall correctly, none of it was actually scary back when I heard it the first time.)

And perhaps accompanied by Gammell's illustrations, the stories would have been more effective... but then again, his illustrations are effective all on their own; they need no accompaniment.

I can't help but feel like the only reason this book was on banned books lists to begin with was that Gammell's illustrations were too scary for some people, and now that it's been redone, that's why it dropped off the lists.

Hey!  Nothing like being late to the party.  Like Alex, I wasn't really that impressed with this book.  I vaguely remember reading it as a kid, but that's only because I recognized the picture and I have a good visual memory.

The pictures are sanitized from the original, but that doesn't mean they're still not scary.  Because there are pretty freaky looking.

I think the stories would be a lot scarier told by fires, in the dark, and out loud (kind of like the cover suggests.)

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