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Tell Me a Scary Story... But Not TOO Scary! : Book-And-CD    by Carl Reiner & James Bennett order for
Tell Me a Scary Story
by Carl Reiner
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I don't know about this one, seems pretty scary to me, just the thing to set the late October mood! Turn the lights down a little, and shudder at James Bennett's shocking illustrations (they're done from a child's eye perspective and the page full of eyeballs is truly gross), while listening to the author's own reading, along with spooky sound effects and music, on the enclosed CD.

The story opens on a child and a dog at bedtime - an adult (the author) plans to tell a story, but offers (repeatedly) to stop at any time if it gets too scary (now that's a dare if I ever heard one). Reiner recalls a strange neighbor from his own childhood, named John Neewollah, with 'a crooked, mysterious smile'. A marble falls out of a box that he carries, and it turns out to be ... an eyeball.

The boy can't fall asleep. He decides to return the marble at midnight, and of course encounters his neighbor again. This is where the story starts to get eerie indeed. First there's something creepy under a cloth. Then we see 'hundreds of COLD, DEAD, EYES' on a worktable in a dark basement. There's a ghastly monster (and you really don't want to know what he did to Mr. Neewollah) and a tumble down steep stairs. But it all probably works out in the end, doesn't it?

Kids will enjoy being scared (but not too scared) and will take the dare to keep on turning pages. Read Tell Me a Scary Story ... But Not Too Scary together just before Halloween, but perhaps you should avoid bedtime.

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