Thrilling...Hand to fans of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark or Creepshow.
Szpirglas writes with a casual straightforwardness and has a keen sense of when to embrace terror and, crucially, when it is more effective to cut away...In the main, genuinely scary, achieving Edgar Allan Poe’s ideal ‘single effect’: every element of each story working together to frighten a new generation of children.
Will have readers of all ages looking for monsters under the bed, in the hallways at school, behind the walls, and even inside themselves. This frightening, darkly fun anthology is perfect kids’ horror.
Gr 4–7—In this companion book to Szpirglas's Tales from Beyond the Brain, 13 spine-tingling stories feature students who find that their classes and teachers are far from boring—they are possibly deadly! These fast-paced tales address time travel, monsters, aliens, haunted walls, and technology that is more sinister than smart. Eerie black-and-white illustrations are perfectly placed to punch up the unique plots. Readers might take away new things to fear as well as some cool facts (for example; snakes don't hibernate, they brumate). While some of the stories are truly frightening, there is plenty of humor among the scares. Featuring a retro cover similar to R.L. Stine's new "Fear Street" series, this book is perfect for younger fans of the recent movie version of Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark. Each creepy story ends like a door being slammed shut; elementary and middle school readers will be eager to open the door to the next one. VERDICT Nothing and nobody are what they seem in this entertaining, nightmare-inducing collection. Recommended for young horror and sci-fi lovers.—Lee De Groft, Jamestown High School, Williamsburg, VA
The Tales From Beyond the Brain (2019) team returns with 13 more scary stories.
In short, punchy stories, readers face dangerous insects and animals, time- and reality-breaking impossibilities, dangerous imposters, and more. Throughout the variety of the scares, body horror appears again and again—considering the edge-of-puberty audience, it’s a timely theme that’s likely to resonate. Although many characters face unpleasant (or at least ambiguous) ends, truly detailed gross-out bits come off as offbeat and cartoonish (such as a primordial ooze and a transformation prompted by pumpkin pie). Stylized black-and-white illustrations range from spot to full-page. They use line, light, and shadow effectively, highlighting frights in detail while also leaving plenty for readers’ imaginations to fill in. While some stories have a touch of modern technology in the horror, old-fashioned analog tech that modern kids won’t be familiar with repeatedly features as a sinister unknown. In the final story, the point of view shifts to first-person, leading to eventual fourth-wall breakage (that continues on into the acknowledgments, inviting readers to keep the scares alive in the real world). While physical and racial descriptors are largely absent, character names indicate Asian, South Asian, and Latinx characters; illustrations also depict characters as Asian and black in stories without textual indication; and one story based in Hebrew golem lore includes anti-Semitic bullying that confronts a rabbi’s son.
A spine-tingling collection that’s dead on for young horror buffs. (Horror. 8-13)