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story.lead_photo.caption Scholastic

TITLE: Mister Shivers: Beneath the Bed and Other Scary Stories

BY: Max Brallier, art by Letizia Rubegni (Acorn by Scholastic, September 2019), ages 5-7, 64 pages, $4.99 paperback, $2.99 Kindle, $23.99 library binding.

STORY: Five stories, actually, each a moldy classic adroitly retold: Something "Beneath the Bed" is as awful as it first appears; a child frets about "A Hair Down My Stomach"; "The Statue" wants its blanket; toys resent being left outside on a "Dark and Stormy Night"; parents insist that "A Noise at the Window" was nothing ... it was not nothing.

Some adults relish being scared, as play. But unless somebody points it out, kids don't see the line between play and danger. Just point it out.

It also helps to expect that a 7-year-old who has fun reading spooky tales aloud is going to read them aloud to younger siblings. Scary stories handled recklessly are like a crash course in existentialism that those wee siblings will flunk, in the middle of the night when you're trying to enjoy your CPAP surround-sound.

But these are terrific stories for a young reader, easy but not too easy, accompanied by darkly detailed art and full of words that, once mastered, will be remembered forever — prickled, creeps, statue, icy ....

Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.

Style on 10/21/2019

Print Headline: READ TO ME

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