Monday, October 10, 2016

MMGM: Guys Read Terrifying Tales


Be afraid, be very afraid of Terrifying Tales, the sixth volume in the Guys Read Library of Great Reading.

Eleven masters of suspense—Kelly Barnhill, Michael Buckley, Adam Gidwitz, Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown, Claire Legrand, Nikki Loftin, Daniel José Older, Dav Pilkey, R.L. Stine, and Rita Williams-Garcia—have come together to bring you a bone-chilling collection of original ghost stories with illustrations by Gris Grimly, perfect for sharing around the campfire, reading under the covers with a flashlight, and scaring your friends’ pants off.

Compiled and edited by kid-lit madman Jon Scieszka, Guys Read: Terrifying Tales is a creepy-fun read (if you’re brave enough, that is). 


This book reminds me why I'm not the biggest fan of horror stories, especially ones that don't have happy endings.  With scary stories, I guess you can't always have a happy ending, but I prefer those kind.  The stories in this book vary a great deal.  Several of these stories have an actual solid ending with a resolution. Several of the stories though end at the climax leaving the reader to make assumptions about exactly what happened to the main character.  Although admittedly it's not hard to guess what happened, it's just not specifically said.  The title of this collection "terrifying tales" is appropriate and makes the book seriously creepy.  This is a book for only the toughest scary story readers (ten is the very youngest age I'd give this too and only if they are prepared to put it down if it turns out to be too much for them).  

The stories do reflect a wide variety of different styles which is to be expected with a variety of different authors.  I can certainly admire the creativity exercised in the variety of different types of creep exhibited here.  A couple of the stories are quite bloody involving murder.  Several of the stories involve creepy spirits or monsters.  I think my favorite story was the "Don't Eat the Baby" by Kelly Barnhill where a young boy who wanted a brother then has to defend his baby sister against said brother.  I think the story that creeped me out the most was "Coconut Heads" where the main characters mother behaves very strangely.  There is something very creepy about a mother who clearly isn't quite herself. I felt like jumping in that story and telling the main character to run.  And the Mandigore story left me with mixed feelings, admiration for the courage of Clark, the main character, sacrificing himself for his friend Nina, and annoyance that the bad stuff happened at the hands of librarian at a library.  Once again I found myself wanting to leap into the story and tell Clark and Nina not to eat the cookies that Mr. Dunn offered them.  Sigh.  I think I get into stories too much sometimes.  In any case, the stories are well-written and definitely qualify as scary, but the collection isn't going to fit all readers, just the ones with strong stomachs and an ability to accept endings that aren't really endings, stories that just stop.

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