Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's Creepy Time

From picture books to young adult fiction the macabre makes its mark in children's literature.

"Beastly Rhymes to Read After Dark"By Judy Sierra 
Illustrated by Brian Biggs
For ages 4 – 8
In 2005 Judy Sierra spoofed Mother Goose with a well-received book of rhymes entitled, "Monster Goose." Sierra revisits a combination of goofy and ghastly with her new book, "Beastly rhymes."

Children will want this book before they even read the first line. Covered in the faux fur of some unidentified green-spotted beastie, it is sure to get their attention. The fun continues between the fur-clad covers with 11 funny and macabre rhymes. Creepy crawlies strike back in Never Bully a Bug. The Lavatory Crocodile will make children think twice about using school toilets. And Parasite Lost teaches about unintended consequences. Don't worry, fits of giggles will stave off any potential bout with bad dreams.

"Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go"
By Dale E. Basye
Illustrated by Bob Dob
For Ages 9 – 12
"Heck" is an inventive and darkly funny tale about Milton and Marlo Fauster, siblings who die in a tragic marshmallow bear explosion. They are sent to Heck, an otherworldly reform school. Teachers like Lizzie Borden, President Richard Nixon, and Blackbeard the Pirate make the experience very heckish for everyone.

Milton can understand why his kleptomaniac sister is in Heck, but he thinks they must have made a mistake with him. After all he was a model citizen. Evidently the school principal of darkness, Bea "Elsa" Bubb, doesn't make mistakes though.

The plot revolves around the Fauster finding a way to escape. The sewers and a good deal of potty humor play a part in the tale. It is a humorous and fast-paced read that older children will enjoy. however much of the humor with names and infamous people of the past will be over their heads. How many preteens know who Milton  or Faust are anyway?

"The Devouring"
By Simon Holt 
For Ages 15 and older
Think Body Snatchers meets the boogie-man. this very creepy tale is a great Halloween or Friday the 13th read for teens that like to be scared by a good horror story. Be aware, there is violence and very scary content that begins in the first chapter — actually the prologue.

This tale follows Reggie, a high school freshmen and her 8-year-old brother, Henry. When Reggie finds and begins reading a strange old journal, she believes the contents are merely the ravings of a crazy old woman. It's not until her brother begins acting strange that she realizes the demonic beings mentioned in the journal might actually be real. The Vours (rhymes with hours) have inhabited her brother's body. Now she must figure out how to destroy her biggest fears before they destroy her. Hopefully she can save the people she loves form a living nightmare in the process. 

This is no children's book. But teens who like a tale of terror will enjoy "The Devouring."

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