Low (The Family Read-Aloud Christmas Treasury, 1989, etc.) has collected scary tales from all walks of life. Many cultures are represented here: African-American, Russian, Chinese-American, Norwegian, and more. In addition to original stories, there are adaptations of traditional folktales. Some of the greats appear, like ""the Headless Horseman,"" but all of these spookers are excellent. George Harland's retelling of Charles Dickens's ""Captain Murderer"" has little Charles's nursemaid giving him a truly gruesome account of a man who married many women and then ate them. The nurse concludes with, ""And he went on swelling, and turning bluer, and screaming louder than ever, until...at one o'clock in the morning...he BLEW up with a loud explosion. 'Good night, Master Charles, and pleasant dreams.' "" Penelope Lively's ""Uninvited Guests"" are a bunch of ghosts who are more annoying than terrifying to the children they haunt. Laurence Yep contributes a funny and horrifying tale, ""Bedtime Snacks,"" in which the evil monster Dagger Claws kills the hero's Auntie and younger brother and claims to be eating chestnuts as he chomps ""crunch, crunch, crunch"" on their bones. (One quibble: Why did Wilson choose to depict the two Chinese brothers as blonds?) Fantastically spooky and literate.