Author: Alvin Schwartz
Artist: Dirk Zimmer
Genre: Short Stories / Horror / Drama / Monsters
Year Published: 1984
Year Read: 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Content Rating: Ages 6+ (Death and Some Scary Imagery)
Now, I have been introduced to Alvin Schwartz’s works before through his famous and controversial “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series and after I found out that Alvin Schwartz had written another pair of horror stories for children called “In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories,” of course I had to give this series a whirl!
This is a collection of horror stories for children and there is a total of seven stories being told in this book. The stories featured in this collection are:
- The Teeth
- In the Graveyard
- The Green Ribbon
- In a Dark, Dark Room
- The Night it Rained
- The Pirate
- The Ghost of John
Wow! Alvin Schwartz really knows how to create stories that are both scary and tame for any child and all of these horror stories contain a mixture of humor and horror that made me both smile and cringe at the same time. I loved the fact that Alvin Schwartz did some research on these stories and allows the readers to understand where these stories came from as he mentions it in the “Where the Stories Come From” section at the end of the book as I wanted to know where these stories came from. I also enjoyed many of the stories in this book with my favorites being “The Green Ribbon” and “In a Dark, Dark Room” as I believe that those are the creepiest stories in this collection, especially “The Green Ribbon!” Dirk Zimmer’s artwork conveys both horror and comedy in this book as the characters have exaggerated features which includes some of the characters have large noses and wide eyes and I also loved the way that the characters look so pale and frightened in most of the images as it shows what kind of horrors the readers will be introduced to when they start reading this book!
The reason why I took off a half point from the star rating was because I felt that there were too many abrupt endings in each story and I wanted to see some closure in these stories, although given the short length of this book, that was to be expected. Also, even though I have enjoyed Alvin Schwartz’s work on “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” I felt that this collection of horror stories was not as scary as “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” Maybe it is because the artwork was not as scary as Stephen Gammell’s artwork in “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” and that took away the creepiness of the stories, although stories like “The Green Ribbon” still remained creepy no matter how the illustrations looked like.
Overall, “In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories” is a great collection of horror stories that children will gladly enjoy during Halloween time! I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since there are some scary stories in this book that might creep out younger readers.
* 1992 North Carolina Children's Book Award
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