Author: Alvin Schwartz
Page Length: 112 pages
Publication Date: Oct. 1, 1989 (by Scholastic, Inc.)
Synopsis: This spooky addition to Alvin Schwartz’s popular books on American folklore is filled with tales of eerie horror and dark revenge that will make you jump with fright.
There is a story here for everyone — skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chimney.
Stephen Gammell’s splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories — and even scary songs — all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark.
“Where is my to-o-o-o-o-e” it said.
― Alvin Schwartz, Stephen Gammell, “Aaaaaaaaaah!”
Why did I chose this book?
…just… EVERYTHING about it. But most especially the images. They are TERRIFYING. I remember when I was a kid, I had NIGHTMARES… constant, reoccurring night terrors because of this fucking book. And to THIS DAY I WILL FOREVER BE GRATEFUL FOR THEM.
I know that sounds like a strange thing to say, but truth be told… any book that affects you that strongly, leaves a mark that deeply, is worthy of praise. I will forever point to this collection of horrors as my UTMOST favourite horror “book” of all time.
You can’t mess with perfection, and that is EXACTLY what this is.
What I love/like about it:
- The stories (especially the ones that I STILL remember to this day and screech over)
- ILLUSTRATIONS. *FOAMS AT THE MOUTH* Those horrifying terrors forever seared within my mind!! I will forever be traumatized and moved by them.
Warnings or Triggers
I’m just going to post this here as it is something I would otherwise have known nothing about, but WHOLLY agree with:
I’m not giving any stars here, only a warning: beware which edition of this collection you choose, for if you choose unwisely, you will be sorely ripped off in more ways than one.
I chose unwisely. My edition is the 2010 “updated” version published by Harper Collins with new illustrations by Brett Helquist. To say that it’s been sanitized for safe consumption is an understatement. The reason the original 1981 edition became an instant classic and a frequently challenged book in schools and libraries was for Stephen Gammell’s ghoulish and nightmarish artwork.
I cry foul and bullshit. You don’t mess with perfection and genius. Without Gammell’s drawings, this collection loses its bloody, beating heart and is barely worth the paper it’s printed on. Who thought this was a good idea? I’m incensed, especially for all the kids who might pick up this book expecting to have the bejeebers scared out of them and wind up merely bored or slightly amused. Unforgivable!
I was going to rant here about our ill-conceived, often hypocritical efforts to “protect” our children and censor their reading materials, but I’ll save that for another day. Perhaps for when I write a real review for the real version of this book, the only one that counts, the only one that should be bought and gifted to any young person seeking his or her gateway drug into the realm of the macabre.
ALTERNATIVE TITLES FOR THE DAY
Here are the other two books in the series, as well as the omnibus edition…