In the last edition of FRIGHTS FOR TYKES I recommended a science fiction horror anthology with a focus on aliens. In this week’s edition, I will be recommending an anthology with a much broader focus.
In NIGHTTIME: TOO AFRAID TO SCREAM written by Todd Strasser and illustrated by Doug Cushman (published by SCHOLASTIC in 2009), ancient animated Skeletons, ghostly fire faces, an old trickster spirit, a lucky black cat, a possible possessed cell phone and the ghost of a caring little boy, ALL make appearances – though not in that order!
I recently discovered this gem while rooting around in the fifty cent book bin of a GOODWILL. I was unfamiliar with the title which pushed this title to the top of my read pile. All the stories in TOO AFRAID TO SCREAM distill the horror with heart and humour. Never really freighting but always intriguing, every story in this anthology stands out against the milieu of similar stories. This is largely due to the masterful re-purposing of old tropes and fancying them into something fun and new. The illustrations also play a large part of the book’s success. Like the stories, the illustrations are only mildly “horrifying”. Any jagged edges are rounded off and any graphic imagery is set aside.
If I had to pick my favorite story I would pick THE HITCHHIKERS. I’ve read dozens of stories that have utilized the legend of the “Phantom Hitchhiker”. Most of them play out like paraphrased copies of one another (which they kind of are). This fresh take on the legend did more than just reword and readjust, it added on, reworked and revamped, injecting a healthy dose of paranoia and panic to a terrific tale.
You can purchase your very own edition of NIGHTTIME: TOO AFRAID TO SCREAM on AMAZON for $5.22, plus free shipping, used, in “Good” Condition. Or you can root around your local thrift store like I did!
Before I wrap up, I feel I should mention that Todd Strasser and Doug Cushman collaborated on another horror anthology, titled NIGHTTIME: TOO SCARED TO SLEEP published by SCHOLASTIC in 2007. I haven’t read this one yet but I have no doubt that it’s also worth looking into.
The sun is sitting…the moon is rising… you hold a book aloft…something is caught in your throat!