Title: Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief & Sinister
Authors: Stefan Bachmann, Emma Trevayne, Katherine Catmull, & Claire Legrand
Published: Greenwillow Books, 2014
Summary/Review: This book of short stories is presented by four outstanding children’s/YA authors. Asked to collect their most horrifying stories, the authors have formed a “cabinet” to share amongst themselves and with the public the tales of terror they have found across the world. The tales are divided between themed sections including fairies, magic, music, and more. The tales range between slightly creepy and odd to downright scary, many leaving the reader guessing about the future. (Some of the less-satisfying endings are brought to a conclusion in the final chapter of the book, where the “curators” revisit some of the characters they have found.) Adults will easily recognize the fine writing of the book, which does not rely heavily upon gore and shock factors, but instead relies on the quality of both the prose and the stories themselves.
This book would make a great read-aloud for parents (who may want to read the stories ahead of time, lest some of them are too scary for their children) but would also serve wonderfully for those busy children that can’t devote a ton of time to their pleasure reading. Clocking in between 5 and 25 pages each (for the most part), children could skip around and find the story that suits their time limit.
Who will like this book?: Someone looking for a creepy read. While the book itself is over 400 pages, the actual stories themselves are short – so they could work well for a child who is pressed for time or who doesn’t have the patience to sit through 400 pages of the same story.
If you like this, try this: If you’re looking for more creepy stories, try the Alan Schwartz “Scary Stories” series. While those illustrations are far scarier than those found in “Cabinet”, the stories are the same caliber of scary (with slightly more gore). The four authors of “Cabinet” are prominent children’s and YA authors, so if you like a particular writer’s stories, there’s plenty more from them available. If you’re looking into more short stories, Jon Scieszka has a series of “Guy Reads” books, including one titled “Thrillers”. And as always, these are NOT just for guys!
Recommended by: Lauren O, Library staff
If this looks like a book you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold