A WALK IN THE DARK AND OTHER SCARY STORIES

From the Mister Shivers series , Vol. 4

Spooky fun!

New readers should prepare themselves for five tales of terror (and giggles).

What do you do with the child who’s ready to start reading on their own, loves scary stuff, but may not be emotionally ready for anthologies of true terror? You appease their need for ghosts and ghouls with this illustrated collection that might make them jump but won’t keep them up into the wee hours. As in other books in the series, this installment begins with a grisly introduction via a letter from Mister Shivers, who tells readers that he was sent a notebook of tales (with a warning to share them, or else) and a box of strange items. With topics ranging from a bizarre hotel to a magical pen, the tales are reminiscent of scary stories told around a campfire: They begin suddenly, providing a few details about the setup, ramp up the suspense quickly, and end with a scare (and sometimes a laugh). Readers won’t be emotionally invested in the characters, but they’re not supposed to be; the characters exist for the startling surprise that follows. The illustrations provide an added level of suspense, mixing dark shadows and spooky characters to keep the excitement going. Readers may take a hint from Mister Shivers’ letter and share these stories (or ones of their own making) at future campfires or during sleepovers; if they do, they’ll be the hit of the night. Characters are racially diverse.

Spooky fun! (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-82196-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Acorn/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

HOW I MET MY MONSTER

From the I Need My Monster series

Frightful and delightful: a comforting (to some, anyway) reminder that no one sleeps alone.

In a tardy prequel to I Need My Monster (2009), candidates for that coveted spot under the bed audition.

As the distressingly unflappable young narrator looks on, one monster after another gives it a go—but even with three mouths, the best roar Genghis can manage is a puny “blurp!”, silly shadow puppets by shaggy Morgan elicit only a sneeze, and red Abigail’s attempt to startle by hiding in the fridge merely leaves her shivering and pathetic. Fortunately, there’s Gabe, who knows just how to turn big and hairy while lurking outside the bathroom and whose red-eyed stare and gross drooling sends the lad scrambling into bed to save his toes. “Kid, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” the toothy terror growls. Right he is, the lad concludes, snuggling down beneath the covers: “His snorts and ooze were perfect.” As usual, the white-presenting child’s big, bright, smiling face and the assortment of bumbling monsters rendered in oversaturated hues keep any actual scariness at tentacle’s length. Moreover, Monster, Inc. fans will delight in McWilliam’s painstaking details of fang, claw, hair, and scales.

Frightful and delightful: a comforting (to some, anyway) reminder that no one sleeps alone. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947277-09-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flashlight Press

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

HEY, THAT'S MY MONSTER!

From the I Need My Monster series

What could be more soporific at bedtime than hairy, green-haired slime ogres with nightlight-orange eyes? (Picture book. 5-8)

Another round of under-the-bed–boojum auditions from the creators of I Need My Monster (2009).

Outraged that his personal bed monster, Gabe, has decamped to attend to his wakeful little sister, a lad marches across the hall to remonstrate. Given three chances to conjure up a suitable new monster for hyperactive Emma, three drippy, wormy, tentacled horrors are summoned in turn. Unfortunately, Emma turns out to be delighted rather than properly terrified, and none will do. Will the boy be forced to go monsterless? Drawn with big, shiny eyes and oversized heads, the two light-skinned sibs glow with energy—but the garishly hued monsters in McWilliam’s toy-strewn bedroom scenes are show stealers, whether exuding pools of pink slime or rearing up in glowering, warty menace in vain efforts to get Emma into bed. At last, in a satisfying if not particularly logical twist, it turns out that Gabe himself has a little sister, Stella, whose threatened attack on the giggling Emma’s toes results in a quick bonding and, a page turn later, snoozing children on both sides of the hall.

What could be more soporific at bedtime than hairy, green-haired slime ogres with nightlight-orange eyes? (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-936261-37-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flashlight Press

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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