This week Katie is doing a throwback review – on one of my favorite books! Enjoy!
Storytellers know — just as they have for hundreds and hundreds of years — that everyone enjoys a good, scary story!
Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories 3 joins his other popular collections of scary folklore, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark and More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, to give readers spooky, funny and fantastic tales guaranteed to raise goose bumps.
Like many people, I originally read the Scary Stories series in elementary school. In fact, once I saw them at the Scholastic Book Fair, I knew these were my kind of book. Even as a youngster I was all about the weird and creepy. And boy did this book deliver.
As I re-read it last week, now in my mid-20’s, the stories don’t hold quite the same punch. Focused on bringing folklore and urban legends to modern kids, these short stories (micro-stories in some cases) really only give us the minimalist versions. As an adult, the words are very meh. As a kid, it is pure imagination fodder. All of the unknowns just needed to take shape in the darkest places of my mind. Especially at night.
What truly holds up over time and does the heavy lifting of the series are Stephen Gammell’s illustrations. If I ever see large prints of these, they’re going directly on my wall. They are disturbing in the best way and fueled the nightmares of countless readers (and even some who only saw the covers). Some of my adult friends are still creeped out by them to this day.
The Scary Stories series has been challenged over the years for various reasons, but the publishers stood behind them for decades. Recently they released a new version with tamer illustrations by Brett Helquist, who also illustrated A Series of Unfortunate Events. While these new illustrations aren’t bad, they just aren’t the same, and they definitely aren’t made of nightmares that will make you look fondly back at your adolescent terror.
If you’re a fan of horror, or just need a good scare on occasion, be sure to find yourself a copy of any of the original Scary Stories books with Gammell’s drawings. Trust me; you need this in your life.