More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz (Book Review)
Plot: Is it possible to die – and not know it? What happens when someone is buried, but isn’t really dead? Can a thief get away with robbing a corpse? Here are over two dozen scary stories. Some are funny, some are macabre, and some are just plain spooky. All of them are perfect for telling aloud in the dark or for reading alone…IF YOU DARE!
My Review: The first time I ever heard of these Scary Stories to tell in the Dark books I was in 3rd grade, the year was 1990 or 1991 and I was nine years old. The student teacher who was taking over our class for a little while decided it would be fun to have a spooky reading hour daily. We’d all sit in a circle on the floor, draw the shades, light some candles and she’d read to us in the near dark. It was a blast and I loved every minute of it. It was sad when our regular (mean) teacher came back and didn’t continue with the spooky tales.
This book has MANY stories, so I can’t cover each and every one of them in detail. But I’ll review them on a 1-5 star scale and do my best to point out the ones I did enjoy.
(The stories were split into different sections)
Something Was Wrong: 3/5
The Wreck: 5/5
One Sunday Morning: 3/5
A Weird Blue Light: 1/5
Somebody Fell from Aloft: 1/5
The Little Black Dog: 2/5
The Bride: 3/5
Rings on her Fingers: 3/5
The Drum: 1/5
The Window: 2/3
Wonderful Sausage: 2/3
The Cat’s Paw: 2/3
The Voice: 3/5
“Oh, Susannah!”: 3/5
The Man in the Middle: 2/5
The Cat in a Shopping Bag: 2/5
The Bed by the Window: 2/5
The Dead Man’s Hand: 3/5
A Ghost in the Mirror: 2/5
The Curse: 3/5
The Church: 1/5
The Bad News: 1/5
Cemetery Soup: 2/5
The Brown Suit: 2/5
Unlike other ghost story books, these center around folklore that was collected over a period of time and told as stories instead of told as evidence to a haunting, most of these do not deal with actual HOUSE hauntings. But instead ghosts, the undead, ironic stories, and some even funny stories. So if you are looking for terrifying ghostly tales, you should look elsewhere.
One of my favorite stories in this book is The Wreck. I’ve always been a fan of this one. It reminds me of a lot of other Car/Hitchhiker ghost stories. Short sweet, and to the point. One story I remember similar to it was one where a boy took a girl to a dance, she left her coat, or hat, or some other object in the car. The boy would go to return it and the father would tell him that she had died long ago. Another version is the girl borrowed a coat or scarf or something and forgot to give it back, once he learned that she was dead he’d go to the cemetery and there on the tombstone was the item he gave her to use. Its these “car” related ghost stories that I always think about when I hear the old song “Last Kiss”
I also enjoyed “The Voice” Its only half a page long or so, but it reminds me of the spooky ghostly footsteps we’d hear as kids coming up our stairs. Nobody ever came into our room or spoke, but it was creepy and so this little story relates well to me. The story is about a girl who hears someone saying they are coming up the stairs to get her, and walking in the door, and walking across the room and then eventually standing next to her. When the lights come on from her screaming for her parents, nobody is there.
“Oh, Susannah!” is an interesting story but cut way too short. Its sorta like that famous “Roommate” story – which also happens to be in the horror movie Urban Legend. In this version the roommate’s name is Susannah, she comes to her room, the lights are off, she gets into bed and goes to sleep assuming her roommate is asleep in her bed. She’s awoken to her roommate humming “Oh, Susannah”, this happens a few times till she finally gets up and goes over to her roommates bed, lifts the sheets and discovers she’s dead. That’s it. Ok, so was it a ghost humming or the killer? The story would have been my favorite if it had been finished.
“A Ghost In the Mirror” was a let down because I thought it would go into story mode telling about people who’ve called out for Bloody Mary. But it only really told you how to play the “game”.
I want to make a quick mention of the creepy artwork in the book. Its all done in this dark wispy creepy way and they really are truly creepy and weird works of art.
Overall: I seemed to remember these being more ghostly in nature, and not so brief. A great read for children – it WILL spook them. But probably not a good read or reread for adults. It was nice to revisit some of the stories from my childhood, but I will look elsewhere for classic ghost stories. I do remember them being a lot better then they were. Maybe the first or 3rd book is better. I don’t recall off hand. Those reviews coming next week (Hopefully!)