It’s so great to be back in the swing of writing again. Especially when the topic is spooky books for kiddos! With definite exceptions, it seems like most kids enjoy a good fright, as long as they also feel secure in the fact that nothing terrifying is really going to happen to them. Come to think of it, that’s how I feel about a scary movie or books… maybe it’s just a human thing!
Today’s entry will be shorter than usual because the source material is also quite short. Beneath the Bed and Other Scary Stories is part of an Acorn series written by Max Brallier and illustrated by Letizia Rubegni. Other entries include Shadow in the Woods and Other Scary Stories and The Doll in the Hall and Other Scary Stories. All three books are illustrated in full color and contain about 55 pages of hair-raising prose for kids.
Such stories include the siblings who brave a reportedly haunted mansion after being heckled by other children. After investigating each floor, they find a creepy doll in the attic. Whew! This house isn’t haunted! ‘Nope,’ says the doll, ‘it’s just us three!’
Another tells the tale of a child who wakes with a scratchy throat. Her mother takes a look and confirms that there’s a hair caught in her throat. After trying unsuccessfully to remove it, the mother tells her that it will go away on its own. Well, it doesn’t and the child is ultimately brought to the doctor. The doctor reaches into the child’s mouth. She pulls and pulls… and yanks out a mouse by its tail! ‘You should not sleep with your mouth open’, says the doctor. Yeah, I think that would be enough to haunt my young psyche, for sure!
The third story tells of a child visiting a yard sale with his mother. For some reason, the mother decides to purchase a horrifying statue that is draped in a smelly old quilt. No matter what, says the vendor, you must not remove the quilt from the statue! They bring the statue home and the boy is still unnerved by its presence. While nestled in bed that night, he can still smell the quilt. He tiptoes downstairs and yanks the quilt off the statue. In the middle of the night, he wakes up shivering, only to find that the statue is now draped in the quilt from his own bed!
To me, the ‘Dark and Stormy Night’ story might be the creepiest of all. A boy has a terrible habit of leaving his toys outside at night, only for them to be rained on and ruined. Eventually, the toys have had enough and appear in the doorway of the boy’s room. He tries to apologize for the way he’s treated them. He’ll never leave them outside again. But the toys say it’s too late for apologies, as they enter the boy’s room and close the door behind them. Shudder!!!!
In the final entry, a family moves to a new home. After being tucked in on the first night, a little girl hears scratching at the window. She screams and her father comes running. He assures her that she’s only hearing branches scrape the window. She’s comforted by the thought until it happens again! This time her mother explains that it’s only a tree limb brushing against the house. She’s finally able to sleep. But when she awakens in the morning, she discovers that not only are there no trees surrounding the house… there are scratches on the INSIDE of the window! Whatever made those noises was in the room with her all night!
All in all, the vignettes shared in Beneath the Bed and Other Scary Stories are harmless, though it certainly makes sense to gauge your own child’s comfort level when it comes to spooky tales. This book is rated as appealing to kindergarten-2nd graders with a 1st grade independent reading level. My 9-year-old definitely enjoyed the book though, so I’d say the appeal of the stories lasts well into 4th and 5th grade.