VOYA - Bonnie Kunzel
Twisted indeed. The author takes a walk on the dark side in this collection of spooky stories, some old, some new, all delightfully creepy. He knows his audience, providing enough horrific touches to appeal to the most challenging readers-those hard-to-reach middle school boys. Each story is introduced with a brief statement describing where he got the idea. The four new stories run the gamut from Who Do We Appreciate, the opening story that features a soccer game between the minions of Heaven and Hell, to Ralphy Sherman's Root Canal, with a recurring character who in this case has a wormhole toothache. Along the way there is also The River Tour, a contemporary take on Charon and the River Styx, and Catching Cold-beware the neighborhood ice cream truck. From 1993 comes Monkeys Tonight and the fear of monkeys; Black Box, which is a retelling of Pandora's box; Flushie, about revenge on a bully; Screaming at the Wall in which a grandmother sees visions of the future; and Alexander's Skull-literally. Riding the Raptor features a roller coaster to die for, and Trash Bin warns readers to beware the garbage pit. An Ear for Music portrays a musical vampire, and a teenage ghost populates Survivor. A quilt scarfs up children in Security Blanket. The result of this gathering of stories is a spook fest of menacing tales-sometimes subtle but always sinister-with plenty of teen appeal.
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up
A good subtitle for this delightfully demented collection might be "Be Careful What You Wish For . . . ." Highlights include "Who Do We Appreciate?," in which a teenager referees a children's soccer game of unimaginable importance; "Same Time Next Year," which points out a rather obvious problem with the whole notion of time travel; "Connecting Flight," which will make readers NEVER want to board an airplane again; and "Ralphy Sherman's Root Canal," which will make them NEVER forget to brush their teeth. And, if they share the author's aversion to the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz , they might want to approach "Monkeys Tonight" with trepidation. Shusterman's characters range in age from early to middle teens. They're mean to their siblings, or don't listen to those older and wiser, or wish for things they shouldn't, and boy, do they regret it. Extremely readable and elegantly creepy, the selections are perfect for reading aloud or recommending to reluctant readers. The brief introduction to each story gives insight into the author's thought processes, and go a little way toward answering that age-old question: "Where do you get your ideas?" The book includes stories originally published in 1993 and 1995, plus four new tales.
Mara AlpertCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.