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Haunts: Five Hair-Raising Tales

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For long winter nights Those who get fed up with holiday cheer can turn to darker entertainments with the ghost stories of Haunts: Five Hair-Raising Tales by Angela Shelf Medearis, illus. by Trina Schart Hyman. The lively stories, several of them set in Texas, feature a spell-binding fiddler, a dancer who won't stop and a talking cat. The swirling, shadowy black-and-white illustrations add a mildly spooky edge. Storytelling of a more uplifting nature is offered in Wisdom Tales from Around the World by Heather Forest. Culled from such diverse traditions as Taoist parables, the Panchatantra of ancient India, the Bible and European folktales, the 50 entries, says Forest in an introduction, "pass down homespun wisdom encased in stories." The tales are often no more than a few paragraphs in length, and rarely more than two or three pages.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
The oldest Halloween celebrants love a spooky story. Parents can deliver spine chills by reading scary stories out loud (and in the dark for the bravest listeners.) There are some wonderful new collections guaranteed to send shivers up the backs of listeners. American scary stories fill the pages of Angela Meaderis' Haunts: a volume illustrated by award-winning artist Hyman.
Children's Literature - Wendy Mann
Kids will enjoy these five "hair-raising" tales of spooky ghosts and things that go bump in the night. Meadearis shares tales that she has discovered in folklore collections or created from her imagination. The tales are told with wonderful language that creates a vivid picture in the reader's mind. This collection includes titles such as "Scared Silly," "The Rainmaker" and The Fiddler Man." Don't read this book before going to bed-you just may find a spook haunting your dreams!
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6While the devices employed to frighten in this collection are somewhat universal, the five tales (three of which are set in small Texas towns) retain a distinctly Southern flavor. Those familiar with Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Red Shoes" will recognize the "dance-till-you-drop" theme, used quite differently in two of the stories. The "Fiddler Man" terrorizes two orphaned former slave children with his eerie music; only by stuffing cotton (from the field) into their ears does young Lilly manage to rescue herself and her brother. In "Last Dance at the Dew Drop Inn," a young "merry widow" deliberately dances with her husband's corpse till it disintegrates, hoping he will thus stop haunting her. Other scary stock characters include a headless horseman, a witch bound by a curse, and a ghost surrounded by a house full of menacing, talking cats. Hyman's vivid black-and-white illustrations of key scenes enhance the spookiness of the stories. Libraries serving fans of scary tales will find this title to be a good addition to their collections.Mary Jo Drungil, Niles Public Library District, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Medearis (Treemonisha, 1995, etc.) makes careful additions to five goosebump-raising tales, which are all either set in rural Texas or have a Southern flavor: A widow's moldering husband rises again for one "Last Dance at the Dew Drop Inn"; with the help of a mysterious dog, Lilly rescues her brother Freeson from the weirdly compelling "Fiddler Man"; an encounter with a headless horseman leaves two sisters "Scared Silly"; and a drought-stricken small town gets more water than it bargains for from "The Rainmaker." In the final story a skeptical clergyman spends a terrifying night with a roomful of talking cats while "Waiting for Mr. Chester" to come down the chimney—piecemeal. Hyman departs from her exacting style to illustrate each tale with a sweeping, less-controlled black-and-white scene; shadows look muddy, but the pop-eyed faces and theatrical gestures are suitably dramatic. Warn all but intrepid readers not to start on this collection after sundown.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823412808
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/1996
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.29 (w) x 10.26 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Angela Medearis
Angela Medearis
Angela Shelf Medearis, author of The African American Kitchen, is the founder of Diva Productions, Inc., the organization that produces her multicultural children's books, cookbooks, videos, and audiocassettes.
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