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Children's LiteratureAward winning author William Mayne, himself a master of the supernatural tale, has collected 26 stories for this book, part of the "Red Hot Reads" series. The stories run from one to eighteen pages—some by well-known authors such as Truman Capote and Rudyard Kipling, some by lesser knowns; others are gleaned from the folktale traditions of Chinese, Mexican, African-American, Scottish, and Native American cultures. Some, like "A Kind of Swan Song" by Helen Creswell, are poignant. Others, such as Ray Bradbury's "Zero Hour," are more ominous or frightening. Though sure to please its targeted audience of middle schoolers, who often have a deep zest for the supernatural, it should appeal equally to young adults, who might appreciate the more nuanced levels in some of the stories. The book, unfortunately, lacks biographical information about any of the authors. Neither are there are acknowledgements or credits regarding the original publication of any of the stories, so there is no sense of context or history for the stories in the collection. Still, the middle school child or young adult with an interest in unusual experiences is likely to enjoy this book. 2004 (orig. 1995), Kingfisher/Houghton Mifflin, Ages 9 to 14.
—Dawn Elizabeth Hunt