Friday, August 21, 2009

Spooky, But No Nightmares

I picked up Patricia C. McKissack's The Dark-Thirty years ago as part of my Newbery collection (it won an Honor), but never started reading it. I knew it was scary stories, and I remember reading some scary Alfred Hitchcock stories in elementary school that created a fear of the dark that extends to the present. So I'm reluctant to dabble in horror short stories. But it was my loss.

These stories do dabble with ghosts and unworldly creatures -- the dark thirty is the time between sunset and dark, perfect for family spooky stories. But the emphasis is on family -- these are tales that you could hear from your grandmother or your father, stories wrapped in love even as they tell of mean spirits or lost children. The stories run about ten pages each; I think I'll be putting this on my read-aloud shelves for some bedtime stories. I'll wait for my oldest kid to get over his fear-caused insomnia, though. He doesn't need to add scary statues to American super volcanoes as reasons why he can't fall asleep. B+

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