Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Alvin Schwartz For my full-length review & commentary, please visit Casual Debris.

Given its oral tradition and its transcendence of culture which contribute to its widespread popularity, the folk tale often lacks its intended wallop of surprise. Unless, of course you, are a youngster first encountering these tales. In my youth I was introduced to many such tales through reading young adult fiction (or as we called it back in the 80s, kids' books), including re-tellings of classic tales; one particular volume I recall having had a blast with was The Headless Roommate and Other Tales of Terror, collected by Daniel Cohen (M. Evans & Co, 1980). I don't believe I've before encountered Alvin Schwartz's popular volumes, and reading them for the first time now evokes mixed responses. The book is certainly fun and the illustrations by Stephen Gammell are downright brilliant--unfortunately Schwartz's writing is at times indolent. His notes on these tales and their origins, however, are interesting, and it is great that he made the effort to share these stories with a younger contemporary audience, helping not only to spread them but to conserve them.