by Alvin Schwartz, Stephen Gammell (Illustrator)
Growing up, my parents were always really liberal concerning watching horror movies, reading scary tales. Actually, I remember they would tell me horror stories themselves, before bad, if I asked them to. So I'm definitely not one that gets scared easily. To be honest, nowadays very few movies or books make me tingle with fear. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, surprisingly, did. I was not expecting to be frightened by such an old book aimed for children.
A huge part of such effect doesn't come from the stories themselves, to be honest, but from the pictures. Man, some of the stories were actually not scary at all, until I looked at the creepy picture at the corner of the page. Here are some examples:
Another cool feature of the book was the author's ability to communicate with the audience and make the tales interactive. More often than not Schwartz would interfere and give some tips as to how the reader could scare his own audience - while reading the stories for friends, for example - with more effectiveness. For instance:
His door opened. Shaking with fear, he listened as the footsteps slowly moved through the dark toward his bed. Then they stopped. "Where is my to-o-o-o-o-e"? the voice groaned. (At this point, pause. Then jump at the person next to you and shout: "YOU'VE GOT IT!"
Overall, it was a fun quick read. Nothing that special to deserve 4 or 5 stars, in my opinion, but scary enough for a cold winter night. Props to the illustrator for making the stories shine even more with his creepy pictures.
Reviewed by Ademilson Moraes (guest contributor).