Books and Recordings

Scared Witless: Thirteen Eerie Tales to Tell

Hiddden Feast Cover
Table of Contents

2006, August House Publishers. Illustrated by Kevin Pope.
1-800-284-8784 or

Kids love to tell stories among themselves, and the two most popular types are funny stories and scary stories. Scared Witless delivers double dividends -- it contains thirteen stories that are funny and scary. These tales are surefire entertainment for classroom storytelling projects, summer camp, sleepovers, and other occasions. Suggestions and guidelines are included for telling each story effectively.

"The latest collection from the duo better known as Beauty and the Beast Storytellers offers recast versions of one-to-three-minute ghost, jump and shaggy-dog tales, interspersed with performance notes addressed to fledgling performers. A mixture of chestnuts like "The Hairy Toe," original stories and borrowings from Joseph Bruchac ("The Brave Woman and the Flying Head") and others, all feature tellable language ("There was one extraordinary thing about this family-they lived right next door to the . . . graveyard. And every day John walked to and from work through the . . . graveyard"); are illustrated with cartoon fright scenes; by and large stay away from explicit gore and violence; and are just right for inducing 'goosebumps, gasps and giggles' in susceptible audiences of any age."

-Kirkus Reviews

A four-page introduction "Goosebumps, Gasps, and Giggles," provides readers with basic information about telling "jump stories," scary stories with an ending that will make the listener jump. The introduction includes general tips as well as book and media resources for more stories. 13 short stories follow. Some of the stories are classic scary stories based on folktales from the United States, Britain, and Europe. Other stories are extended jokes, and a few stories are built around word puns (coffin, coughing). Each story is followed by specific "tips for telling" that story. A section entitled "Story Sources," with notes about the origins of each story, ends the book. The quirky illustrations will appeal to young readers, and the enthusiasm of this husband and wife storytelling team is contagious. Content of this useful book will encourage would-be storytellers of any age to take the plunge. The specific how-to information provides just enough guidance for first-timers. For librarians with active student storytellers and for media specialists and teachers who wish to encourage student storytellers, this is a handy book. Grades 3-6. Recommended.

-Library Media Connection