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review 2017-08-13 05:23
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories - Alvin Schwartz,Dirk Zimmer

Genre:  Short Stories / Horror / Drama / Monsters


Year Published: 1984


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  HarperCollins Publishers

 

 

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Now, I have been introduced to Alvin Schwartz’s works before through his famous and controversial “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series and after I found out that Alvin Schwartz had written another pair of horror stories for children called “In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories,” of course I had to give this series a whirl!

This is a collection of horror stories for children and there is a total of seven stories being told in this book. The stories featured in this collection are:

1. The Teeth
2. In the Graveyard
3. The Green Ribbon
4. In a Dark, Dark Room
5. The Night it Rained
6. The Pirate
7. The Ghost of John
 


Wow! Alvin Schwartz really knows how to create stories that are both scary and tame for any child and all of these horror stories contain a mixture of humor and horror that made me both smile and cringe at the same time. I loved the fact that Alvin Schwartz did some research on these stories and allows the readers to understand where these stories came from as he mentions it in the “Where the Stories Come From” section at the end of the book as I wanted to know where these stories came from. I also enjoyed many of the stories in this book with my favorites being “The Green Ribbon” and “In a Dark, Dark Room” as I believe that those are the creepiest stories in this collection, especially “The Green Ribbon!” Dirk Zimmer’s artwork conveys both horror and comedy in this book as the characters have exaggerated features which includes some of the characters have large noses and wide eyes and I also loved the way that the characters look so pale and frightened in most of the images as it shows what kind of horrors the readers will be introduced to when they start reading this book!

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The reason why I took off a half point from the star rating was because I felt that there were too many abrupt endings in each story and I wanted to see some closure in these stories, although given the short length of this book, that was to be expected. Also, even though I have enjoyed Alvin Schwartz’s work on “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” I felt that this collection of horror stories was not as scary as “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” Maybe it is because the artwork was not as scary as Stephen Gammell’s artwork in “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” and that took away the creepiness of the stories, although stories like “The Green Ribbon” still remained creepy no matter how the illustrations looked like.

Overall, “In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories” is a great collection of horror stories that children will gladly enjoy during Halloween time! I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since there are some scary stories in this book that might creep out younger readers.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2016-11-28 22:47
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones - Alvin Schwartz,Stephen Gammell
 Genre: Horror / Short Story / Monsters


Year Published: 1991


Year Read: 2016


Series: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark #3
 
 

Publisher: HarperCollins  

 

Scary



YES! YES! YES!

Finally, I got the chance to read the final set of stories from Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell’s controversial yet popular series, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” called “Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones!” In celebration of Halloween, I have decided to revisit this little gem of a series again and I was seriously not disappointed!

This book mostly has a set of scary stories that will haunt you in your sleep, so here are a couple of stories out of this collection:

Harold


The story starts off with two guys named Thomas and Alfred who decided to make a man sized doll that looked exactly like the farmer they hated named Harold and they decided to put the doll outside the pasture to scare off the birds. Occasionally, Thomas and Alfred would make fun of the Harold doll and sometimes violently hit the doll for no reason at all. One night however, Thomas and Alfred start to notice strange things about the Harold doll as the doll began to make grunting noises and started moving around by itself. This starts to creep out both Alfred and Thomas and they decided to leave the pasture to get away from Harold. But when Thomas decided to go back to the pasture to get the milking stools…

The Red Spot

Scary

One night when Ruth was sleeping, she noticed a spider crawling on her face and afterwards, she discovered that she had a big red spot on her left cheek. She showed the red spot to her mother and her mother kept telling her that the red spot will go away soon enough. But later on, the red spot got bigger and bigger and soon it began to burst and….

Is Something Wrong?

Scary

The story started off with a man spending the night at an empty house due to his car breaking down. As soon as the man tried to go to sleep, he heard a loud crash and something large and heavy fell through the chimney and went after the man. The man then started running away from the strange creature, but when he came to the road, the creature tapped him on the shoulder and…

Just like the previous two books in the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series, Alvin Schwartz has done an excellent job at narrating these spooky tales that range from being deeply disturbing (“Harold” and “Just Delicious”) to being slightly scary but having a somewhat humorous twist towards the end (“Is Something Wrong)? I like the fact that Alvin Schwartz is able to juggle between horror and humor in this collection as it made the stories interesting to read through (even though I have always preferred the more straight-forward horror themed stories since I love reading genuinely terrifying tales, especially in October)! But, probably the best part about this book was the illustrations done by none other than Stephen Gammell! Now, while I understand that Stephen Gammell’s artwork was highly controversial when this series first came out, I honestly love how horrifying these illustrations are as they make the horror aspects in each of the stories even more effective to read through and I was seriously creeped out by some of the illustrations! Some of my favorite images in this book were from “Is Something Wrong?” “The Dead Hand,” “Sam’s New Pet,” and “The Red Spot!”

The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was because the pacing in some of the stories were a bit too slow, especially in the story “The Trouble,” where I wished that the story would have gotten to the main point much quicker. Also, the reason why this book series was so controversial was due to Stephen Gammell’s frightening artwork. There are some genuinely horrifying artworks in this book, most notably in stories like “Sam’s New Pet,” “The Dead Hand” and “Is Something Wrong?” and some of the artwork would feature grotesque and creepy characters and characters that are covered in blood. Parents might want to read this book first before showing it to their children to see if their children can handle the scary content of this book series.

Overall, “Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones” is a truly great finale to Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell’s legendary “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series and even though this series has come to an end, I will probably still re read this series down the line once more! I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the frightening imagery and scary stories might terrify younger children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2015-11-12 18:45
Traditional tales for a younger audience
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Alvin Schwartz,Stephen Gammell

For my full-length review, please visit Casual Debris.

 

Given its oral tradition and its transcendence of culture which contribute to its widespread popularity, the folk tale often lacks its intended wallop of surprise. Unless, of course you, are a youngster first encountering these tales. In my youth I was introduced to many such tales through reading young adult fiction (or as we called it back in the 80s, kids' books), including re-tellings of classic tales. I don't believe I've before encountered Alvin Schwartz's popular volumes, and reading them for the first time now evokes mixed responses. The book is certainly fun and the illustrations by Stephen Gammell are downright brilliant--unfortunately Schwartz's writing is at times indolent. His notes on these tales and their origins, however, are interesting, and it is great that he made the effort to share these stories with a younger contemporary audience, helping not only to spread them but to conserve them.

 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is divided into four distinct sections...

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url 2015-10-23 18:43
"14 Terrifying Facts About 'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark'"
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Alvin Schwartz,Stephen Gammell

My sister just sent me this link. These books scared the crap out of us as kids, and now I'm trying to remember where our copies ended up.

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text 2015-09-27 15:46
Banned Book 34 - Scary Stories Series
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Alvin Schwartz,Stephen Gammell
More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Alvin Schwartz,Stephen Gammell

I think these books have to be a rite of passage for school children.  I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t remember these with joy (though such a person must be out there).  Of course, they are too scary to be read, so they are banned and challenged.        

                But they are scary in a way that is not scary.  It’s like you take joy from being scared while knowing that you are safe.  And you are amused.  There is something so fun about them.

                “In a dark, dark room.  Up a dark, dark stair”.

                A friend asks me why I care about banned book lists.  What does it matter, he wonders, no one is stopping you from reading. 

                It matters because more and more I’m convinced that reading is becoming a loss art.  This doesn’t mean I think people are illiterate, though sometimes I wonder.  It means that seems fewer people are reading critically or READING.  If you ever put a review on the internet, be it Amazon or Goodreads and sometimes even Booklikes, some idiot is going to comment on the review about how you didn’t understand the book, you are just a horrible person, why read it if you don’t like it, you are an old fart – whatever.  It seems that these posts come from a fear that if some dislikes (or even likes) a book that someone else loves (or hates) the person is being superior.

                No, the person usually wants to talk and mutually agree to disagree.

                But also it leads to something like 50 Shades of Grey.  Don’t get me wrong – if you love the book, wonderful.  And undoubtedly there are many people who love it because it is a train wreck (you know, like the Resident Evil movies).  But you should at least know when you like something bad, if you know what I mean.

                The only way to hone these reading skills is by reading.  If you kill the desire to read, you kill the skills.  You have to steer someone towards literature not blast them towards it.  Blasting kills the desire to read.  Banning is blasting times 100.

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