That said, the quality of the poetry is quite worthy of sharing around a campfire or at a slumber party; in the classroom,...

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TALES TO KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT

Novelist Winters (The Mystery of the Missing Everything, 2011) applies his pen to create 30 rhyming, slightly shivery poems.

The subtitle claims this poetry aims to “keep you up at night.” And if it does not, surely most of Watkins’ wonderfully creepy illustrations will, often hinting at dreadful outcomes not indicated in the text. In “How I Check for Monsters Before I Go to Sleep,” the verse visits each place the narrator thinks a monster may be hiding. “I turn on the lights in the bathroom, / and once all the shadows are gone / I check that there’s no growling fiends / in the tub or on the john.” The tone is light, but the accompanying illustration reveals something more sinister—waiting in the closet is something with a sinuous tail and muscled forearm leading to a hand with ultralong, black fingernails. And so it is with the rest of the book, with uneasy experiences taking place in “The Attic,” “The Deep End” and while “Hiking.” The breezy, witty voice on display does not seem to entirely jibe with the illustrations, which alone could be the cause of a serious case of the heebie-jeebies.

That said, the quality of the poetry is quite worthy of sharing around a campfire or at a slumber party; in the classroom, use it to demonstrate the wide range of forms creative verse can take. (Poetry. 7-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8431-7194-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Price Stern Sloan

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers.

DON'T READ THIS BOOK BEFORE BED

THRILLS, CHILLS, AND HAUNTINGLY TRUE STORIES

A compendium of paranormal doings, natural horrors, and eerie wonders worldwide and (in several senses) beyond.

Maladroit title aside (“…in Bed” would make more sense, cautionwise), this collection of hauntings, cryptids, natural and historical mysteries, and general titillation (“Vampire bats might be coming for you!”) offers a broad array of reasons to stay wide awake. Arranged in no discernible order the 60-plus entries include ghostly sightings in the White House and various castles, body-burrowing guinea worms, the Nazca lines of Peru, Mothman and Nessie, the hastily abandoned city of Pripyat (which, thanks to the Chernobyl disaster, may be habitable again…in 24,000 years), monarch-butterfly migrations, and diverse rains of fish, frogs, fireballs, and unidentified slime. Each is presented in a busy whirl of narrative blocks, photos, graphics, side comments, and arbitrary “Fright-O-Meter” ratings (Paris’ “Creepy Catacombs” earn just a “4” out of 10 and black holes a “3,” but the aforementioned aerial amphibians a full “10”). The headers tend toward the lurid: “Jelly From Space,” “Zombie Ants,” “Mongolian Death Worm.” Claybourne sprinkles multiple-choice pop quizzes throughout for changes of pace.

A rich source of terrors both real and manufactured, equally effective in broad daylight or beneath the bedcovers. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2841-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

In a large, handsome format, Tarnowska offers six tales plus an abbreviated version of the frame story, retold in formal but contemporary language and sandwiched between a note on the Nights’ place in her childhood in Lebanon and a page of glossary and source notes. Rather than preserve the traditional embedded structure and cliffhanger cutoffs, she keeps each story discrete and tones down the sex and violence. This structure begs the question of why Shahriyar lets Shahrazade [sic] live if she tells each evening’s tale complete, but it serves to simplify the reading for those who want just one tale at a time. Only the opener, “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp,” is likely to be familiar to young readers; in others a prince learns to control a flying “Ebony Horse” by “twiddling” its ears, contending djinn argue whether “Prince Kamar el Zaman [or] Princess Boudour” is the more beautiful (the prince wins) and in a Cinderella tale a “Diamond Anklet” subs for the glass slipper. Hénaff’s stylized scenes of domed cityscapes and turbaned figures add properly whimsical visual notes to this short but animated gathering. (Folktales. 10-12)

 

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84686-122-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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