Only If You Dare: 13 Stories of Darkness and Doom by Josh Allen, illustrated by Sarah J. Coleman and Hide and Don’t Seek and Other Very Scary Stories by Anica Mrose Rissi

Published by Holiday House

Only If You Dare: 13 Stories of Darkness and Doom: Allen, Josh, Coleman,  Sarah J.: 9780823449064: Books

Published by Quill Tree Books

Hide and Don't Seek: And Other Very Scary Stories: Rissi, Anica Mrose:  9780063026957: Books

Summary: These two collections of scary short stories were released in August, just in time to get in the library before Halloween.  Only If You Dare has 13 stories, mostly about kids whose normal lives are disturbed by some supernatural aspect.  They try to dismiss it at first, but eventually the nightmare comes true, the doll comes to life…well, you get the idea.  Hide and Don’t Seek is a collection of 19 stories, with a little more variety in the format, including a poem, a story told all in texts, and a collection of letters from a summer camp that you might want to avoid sending your kids to.  Both books have plenty of illustrations just in case your imagination isn’t overstimulated enough.  Only If You Dare is 208 pages, Hide and Don’t Seek is 224; both recommended for grades 4-7.

Pros:  Anyone who has worked in a library frequented by kids knows that these books will never be on the shelves.  The demand for scary stories is huge, and these stories are truly creepy.  Some kids’ horror is more funny than horrifying, but not these two collections.  They are definitely scary without being too disturbing for the intended age group.

Cons:  Horror is not and has never been my favorite genre, so reading 32 scary stories in a row…let’s just say I’ll be avoiding dolls and clowns for a while.

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