Literary Genres: Horror

Gaiman, Neil.  CORALINE.  Illus. by Dave McKean.  New York: HarperCollins, 2002.
    176p.   0380977788; hb. $15.99    0-06-623744-0; lib.bdg. $16.89   Gr. 5-9      FIC

    Coraline is an only child who lives with her parents in part of an old house.  A pair of ancient actresses live downstairs and the elderly man upstairs is on speaking terms with mice.  Coraline’s mother and father have disappeared.  During one of her exploring times she discovers a door to an unused part of the house.  Now that her parents are gone, it is no longer bricked up.  Coraline goes through the door and finds her “other” family.  They are like her real parents, except they have black button eyes.  The “other mother” keeps telling Coraline she loves her and entices Coraline with food and boxes of toys.   In a closet, Coraline discovers three children whose souls have been stolen by the “other mother.”   Now she sets out to free herself and the children and to find her real parents. Tea parties, black cats, mice, rats, a long fingered hand that runs around like a spider...all in this fanciful story.  It has tastes of ALICE IN WONDERLAND.  But there is no comic relief here.  This is a dark fantasy, filled with mist; intriguing, but I felt ever so much better when it was over.
    Charlotte A. Wuepper, Media Specialist; Upton Middle School, St. Joseph, Michigan
    23 years of experience as a librarian; 17 of those as a school library media specialist

    Orlando, FL:  Harcourt Children's Books, 2004.  ISBN: 052165746  hb. $17.00  
    Gr. 5-9   FIC

    Bravo to the author, Kathryn Reiss. This story is very well written, bringing the ghosts into the mind of the reader.  The author was able to tell the story of Miss Honeywell, Primrose, and the dollhouse as they were in the early 1900's intertwined with the present owner of the dollhouse, Zibby.  The adjectives, verbs and even the font of the text were all instruments used by the author to make the book come alive.
    The way Zibby obtained the dollhouse set the mood for the whole book. As the story evolved, more interesting characters were introduced, adding to the complexity of the story and adding interesting new sub plots like stepchildren and the problems that can occur between some blended families.  I can't wait to read the next book by Reiss.
    Jan St.Germain, Director, Richmond Township Library

    HarperCollins, 2001.  48p.   0-06-029535-Xhb., $19.95   Gr. 6-8    FIC

    Bizarre?  Unusual?  Totally creative and imaginative?  Weird?  Outstanding?  The emotions will be mixed on this title.  This title is totally different from the run-of-the-mill picture books and is definitely for an older audience.  Unfortunately, the format might cause this to be a shelf-sitter.  A group of anthropologists discover a mysterious mountain cave in France that had been used by witches and wizards as their gathering place.  Because of the intrusion, these spirits abduct a notable Frenchman who is responsible for unlocking their hidden lair.  The design and photography on the extremely glossy paper cause the text to take a back seat, but fantasy fans who are into creating imaginative worlds will be totally mesmerized with this mysterious, evocative, literary creation.
    Pat Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI
    27 years of experience as a teacher and librarian

Stine, R.L. THE HAUNTING HOUR.   Illus. by several illustrators.  New York:
    HarperCollins, 2001. 153p.    0-06-623604-5;hb., $12.95.    Gr. 5-8    FIC

    Master of horror stories for the middle-grade reader, Stine has created a nightmarish collection of ten stories that will turn any hour into "the haunting hour.”   A different illustrator introduces each story including one about a babysitter who practices a form of voodoo.   One features a ghoulish Halloween party; others are about revenge of a snowman, dragons, mummies, and imaginary friends.   As Stine says, "These stories were written in the hour when lights fade, the real world slips into shadow---and the cold, moonlit world of evil dreams takes over your mind."   Stine's multitude of fans will be left screaming for more once they close the cover of this collection.
    Patricia J. Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI
    25 years of experience working with children in school and public libraries

Yolen, Jane and Martin H. Greenberg, eds.  THE HAUNTED HOUSE:  A COLLECTION OF
    ORIGINAL STORIES.  Illus.  by Doron Ben-Ami.  New York:  HarperCollins, 1995.  88p.
    0-06-024468-2; lib.bdg., $14.89   0-06-024467-4; hb., $13.95    0-06-440646-6; pb., $3.95
    94-25136   Gr. 3-6     SC   or     FIC

    If you have never believed in ghosts you might want to visit the "Haunted House."  It is a clever format that was instrumented by Yolen and Greenberg when they created this collection of seven spooky stories--each one written by a different author and each story taking place in one of seven different rooms of a haunted house.  You are invited to come in to a house that creaks and groans---where there may be lights that blink off and on, or where things disappear.  It all starts in the cellar and traverses the house room by room (each author writes a story set in a different room) and it all ends in an attic Train Room.  Ben-Ami adds to the fun with realistic shadowy illustrations that compliment the text.  The chapters are short---but long enough to keep the shivers coming.  These two authors have assembled a creepy collection of stories that will leave the reader wondering just what that noise really was---in the next room!
    Patricia Fittantte, Children's Librarian,  Escanaba Public Library
    23 years of experience as a teacher and librarian


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