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Sonderbooks Book Review of

Half-Minute Horrors

edited by Susan Rich


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Half-Minute Horrors

by Susan Rich

Reviewed July 7, 2010.
Harper, 2009. 141 pages.

I read this book entirely waiting at traffic lights. Well, except the parts I read aloud to people when I first checked out the book. The many, many stories in here, by stellar children's authors, are really short enough to be read in half a minute. It was perfect for reading at traffic lights, and would also be perfect for reading to a class of schoolchildren to get them interested in the library.

I have to admit, most of these stories would have scared me too much when I was a little girl with an overactive imagination. Now, they make me laugh with their delightful creepiness. Especially the first story, by Lemony Snicket, about the quiet man who watches you every time you sleep.

Since they are so short, the stories tend to be the sort of thing you'd find in The Twilight Zone, but they all tend toward the scary side, especially if you think about them too long!

Now, this isn't for all kids. Not the ones like I was who scare easily. If I do ever get a chance to read some of these stories to a class of schoolchildren, I will have to be a little careful which ones I choose.

However, I know from working in public libraries that there are lots of kids who love scary stories and want more of them. This book is absolutely perfect for those kids. And if any such child is a reluctant reader, this book is exactly what's needed to draw them in. The stories are so short, you can always read just one more.

A fun volume of scares in small doses.