Ask the Bones: Scary Stories from Around the World

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"The last thing the young man ever saw was a hideous skull grinning at him, just inches from his face, and long bony fingers closing around his throat…" What is real and what is imaginary? Do monsters and wizards lurk in the shadows, along with ghosts and invisible men? Can women turn into snakes? Can skeletons take revenge? For generations, storytellers around the world have given substance to our worst fears. Here, master storytellers retell twenty-two of the eeriest folktales for this lively collection. ...
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Overview

"The last thing the young man ever saw was a hideous skull grinning at him, just inches from his face, and long bony fingers closing around his throat…" What is real and what is imaginary? Do monsters and wizards lurk in the shadows, along with ghosts and invisible men? Can women turn into snakes? Can skeletons take revenge? For generations, storytellers around the world have given substance to our worst fears. Here, master storytellers retell twenty-two of the eeriest folktales for this lively collection.

A collection of scary folktales from countries around the world including China, Russia, Spain, and the United States.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Readers looking to be scared (but not too scared) will find chills aplenty in this collection of 22 smoothly told folktales from many cultures. The volume opens with several stories in which protagonists (almost always male) witness supernatural horrors--a Japanese student's drawings of cats save him from a ravaging goblin rat; a Charleston boy's employer is meted out gruesome but just deserts after imprisoning a mermaid in a bottle. The tone darkens as the volume progresses, with the innocent as well as the guilty coming to grisly ends. Picture book author Olson (Hurry Home, Grandma!) and folklorist Schwartz (Next Year in Jerusalem) don't exploit the blood and gore of the horror genre; their stories usually end just before the carnage begins, leaving readers with a thrill of horribly delicious anticipation. Rather than striving to impart the different flavors of their original sources, the authors favor a deceptively casual voice throughout, one that would lend itself to a storytelling session around a campfire or after lights out. Final artwork not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
Twenty-two spooky tales from around the world, including: the US, Russia, Germany, England and Mexico, introduce us to creepy elements, such as, a haunted bridal gown, a voodoo curse and an evil tattoo. Well-written and brief, most of the tales have a surprise ending; and it's not a happy surprise! The stories might be good for storytimes, but not for the faint of heart. Eerie, black and white drawings compliment the tales well. An introduction and source notes are included.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-A collection of 22 stories, 6 from the United States, and others from Russia, Persia, Mexico, Germany, Iceland, England, Uzbekistan, and Spain, among other places. The retellings are spare, with little description, explanation, or enhancement to the "bare bones" of the tales. Although the selections do not read aloud well, there is the potential for storytellers to create more tellable versions by embellishing upon them with their own style. The strength of this book is in the tales included. Many are hard to find in print, especially for this age group. Source notes appear at the end. The black-and-white charcoal drawings scattered throughout do little to add to the mood of the text. This title will not have the appeal of Alvin Schwartz's "Scary Stories" books (HarperCollins). However, if your scary-story readers have exhausted your current titles, you may want to consider this one.-Molly S. Kinney, Office of Public Library Services, Atlanta, GA
Jennifer M. Brabander
With their brevity, condensed action, and distillation of language, scary folktales can deliver everything the young horror acolyte desires—instant gross-out gratification and plenty of grisly murders in a nail-biting page-turner. These twenty-two stories provide a wide variety of supernatural happenings that won't disappoint.
The Horn Book Magazine
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670875818
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 3/28/1999
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Howard Schwartz also lives in Missouri.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2007

    Amazingly Wrote

    this book was amazingly wonderful to read. I am very pleased with this book. GET IT. It is Insanity!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2003

    NOT REALLYA COOL BOOK.

    ITS NOT REALY ENTERTAINING BOOK IT IS KIND OF STUPID, IT DISAPPOINTED ME. IT WAS A LITTLE GOOD BUT NOT REALLY [A MESSAGE FOR SCARY READERS] THIS ISN'T ACTACALLY A BOOK THAT YOU WOULD KEEP YOU ENTERTAINED. ONE DAY AT SCHOOL IN THE LIBRARY THE LIBRARY TECHER READ A STORY IN ASK THE BONES I LIKED THE STORY AND I WANTED THE BOOK THERE WAS PROBABLY TWO GOOD STORYS IN THE WHOLE BOOK. SO ANYWAY I GOT IT AND I READ IT ALOT AND IT DID'NT REALLY KEEP ME ENTERAINED. AND SO READERS WHO LOVE SCARY BOOKS. WONT PROBABLY LIKE THIS ONE THAT MUCH.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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