Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz (Book Review)
Plot: A collection of horrific tales to captivate readers. There is a story here for every reader. Tales of lovers who come back from the dead, skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth, and people who stand on graves to be grabbed by death.
My Review: As I said in my first review of this book series (Read my review for More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark here), this is a series of books my old 3rd grade intern teacher used to read to us. I was really looking forward to reading them again as an adult. As its been many years.
I was pretty disappointed in the 2nd book – More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – and turns out I’m even more disappointed in this book. Its just not even remotely scary, the stories in the beginning of the book aren’t even finished, they rely on you screaming and scaring your friends at the end without even finishing or making a point to the story.
Again like I did with my More Scary Stories review, I’ll list the titles and my rating, and if there are any specific stories I love or hate that I have something to say about I’ll write about that after.
The Big Toe: 1/5
The Walk: 1/5
“What Do You Come For?”: 1/5
Me Tie Dough-ty Walker!: 1/5
A Man Who Lived in Leeds: 1/5
Old Woman All Skin and Bone: 2/5
“The Big Toe” is a type of story I just can’t get into. I mean really, who finds a big toe buried in the dirt and digs it out to eat it? Its just a silly story to me.
All the stories in the beginning of the book are the “jump out and scare your friend at the end” type of stories. They are mainly unfinished and instead of bringing the story to some sort of conclusion the reader jumps out or shouts the last line in the story. None of the stories held any interest for me.
The Thing: 1/5
Cold as Clay: 1/5
The White Wolf: 2/5
The Haunted House: 2.5/5
The Guests: 3.5/5
“Cold as Clay” sorta reminded me of another ghost story I mentioned in my review of More Scary Stories – the story where a ghost leaves some sort of clothing to prove they were really there. Sadly the story wasn’t told very well in this book.
The Hearse Song: 5/5
The Girl Who Stood on a Grave: 3/5
A New Horse: 2/5
Room for One More: 2/5
The Wendigo: 1/5
The Dead Man’s Brains: 2/5
“May I Carry Your Basket?”: 1/5
I gave “The Hearse Song” a solid 5 stars because I think its probably the reason why I’m terrified of being buried alive. The thought of bugs eating me alive just makes me want to vomit. I’m definitely being cremated.
“Dead Man’s Brains” is actually a game. You read what’s written in the “story” and have the people listening stick their hands into bowls filled with gross things. The person reading is describing someone’s dead body and what your supposed to be feeling are the dead pieces. I remember playing something like this as a child at parties or at haunted houses. A version of it is also in the movie Sleepaway Camp 2.
The Hook: 4/5
The White Satin Evening Gown: 2/5
High Beams: 4/5
The Babysitter: 3/5
“The Hook” has always been a favorite story of mine. Its actually told in the beginning of a horror movie called Campfire Tales. It’s a movie that came out around the same time as Urban Legends. Campfire Tales is about a group of kids sitting around a campfire telling different urban legend tales. Its actually a favorite movie of mine.
“High Beams” Is another good story, and again one that was in a movie. In fact this one was told in “Urban Legend”
I’ve always been a fan of “The Babysitter” story, but I seem to recall it going a lot more like the movie When a Stranger Calls. This version of the story seemed really tame compared to others. Probably because it’s a children’s book.
The Viper: 2/5
The Attic: 1/5
The Slithery-Dee: 2/5
Aaron Kelly’s Bones: 1/5
Wait till Martin Comes: 1/5
The Ghost with the Bloody Fingers: 2/5
Overall: A majority of the writing seemed to be written by a child. Some stories aren’t finished – on purpose – but its annoying, others are just down right silly. But then there are a couple “classic” stories, like famous urban legends that make up for some of those bad stories. In the end I’m disappointed in this book. I have such fond memories of it from my childhood, it’s a shame I don’t feel the same way about it anymore.