“Graves” and her Nightmare Club have some stories to spook young readers.
Glen is a nasty young man. He has a high screechy voice, and he only opens his mouth for two reasons: to complain or to lie. One day Glen becomes lost during a class trip to the woods. He complains loudly, and a strange, tiny creature offers to help, but Glen rudely spurns assistance. The creature tells Glen to watch himself or it will turn him into something more useful. Glen ignores the warning, and his nasty behavior triggers a change. Worried, he dials back his nastiness. But when he thinks no one’s looking, he starts to kick a stray dog…and is never seen again. Published in the U.K. in 2011 and 2012, the Nightmare Club books are very short, highly illustrated tales ostensibly written by “Annie Graves,” a (fictional) 12-year-old who lives near Dublin. The actual author of each tale (in this case, Katherine Farmar) is acknowledged in the “Thank You” in the frontmatter of each volume. McElhinney’s black-and-white illustrations appear on every page. Publishing simultaneously are Help! My Brother’s a Zombie, Mirrored, Guinea Pig Killer and Frankenkids.
Young or reluctant readers seeking something very brief and a bit dark might enjoy one enough to try a second. (Horror. 7-10)