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Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark Books In Order

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Publication Order of Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark Books

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1981)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories (1984)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1984)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
More Tales to Chill Your Bones (1991)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The “Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark” series are a set of novels by children’s fiction author Alvin Schwartz. He was a lifelong member of the Children’s Folklore section of the American Folklore Society and became known for his extensive and impressive collection of books for young adults and children on the subject of children’s folklore, which he published over more than two decades of writing. Schwartz was born in 1927 and from very early on, he knew that he wanted to be an author. He went to the City College of New York and after World War II served in the US Navy between 1945 and 1946. In 1949, he graduated from Colby College with an AB degree and then went to Northwestern University from where he got his journalism MS degree. When he graduated, he worked on a variety of jobs including as newspaper reporter and writer for commercial and non profit organizations. For a time, he was Opinion Research Corporation’s director of communications. In 1962, he got a job with Rutgers University where he taught composition and English.

In 1964, he published his first novel and has never looked back since. He then became a full time writer and has since written three non fiction works, three novels, on fatherhood, public relations, recreation and play. He has more than twenty children’s folklore works but it was with the “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” that he would make his name. Of the more than fifty titles he wrote up to his death in 1992, more than half are still in print.

“The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” series are compiled into three collections of short children’s horror fiction for children that were illustrated by Stephen Gammell. The collection was republished by HarperCollins in 2011 and stirred quite some controversy among parents. Subsequent publishing restored the Gammell illustrations that had been left out of previous editions. Each of the three collections come with more than twenty short fiction in the horror genre. Alvin Schwart drew inspiration from urban legends and folklore which he researched heavily, spending more than a year writing each collection of short stories. The author has asserted that he has been influenced by some of the greats in literary fiction such as Jan Harold Brunvand, William Shakespeare, Bennet Cerf, TS Elliot, and Joel Chandler Harris. He published the first of the collection in 1981 but the entire collection had since been compiled into a single volume and a box set. Each title also has an audiobook version and all the stories are narrated unabridged by George S Irving. The three collections combined have over the years sold more than seven million copies and been on a variety of best seller lists. Over the years, they have come to be hailed as a cultural touchstone.

“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” tells some very scary stories. Schwartz write his horror stories in a nonchalant way which makes them seem even more real. In his world murderers, zombies and ghosts are commonplace. There could be a dangerous killer waiting in someone’s backyard at almost any moment. It is a spooky addition to the most popular Schwartz works of American folklore that are usually filled with dark revenge and horror that makes one jump out of their skin. The author writes a story for everyone that includes skeletons with tangled and torn flesh that walk the earth, haunted houses where bloody heads tumble through the chimneys every night and ghosts that take revenge on their killers. The illustrations by Stephen Gammell are creepy but splendidly creative drawings that capture the mood of the more than two dozen works. The author also includes some scary songs that make for some creepy alone time reading in the dark.

“More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” the second in the series is a set of creative retellings that will blow the mind. Alvin Schwartz is a brilliant reteller of the ancient scary folktales. Each subsequent story is as intense and as creepy as the last one and the cliffhanger endings make one want to scream their lungs out. Alvin is a master at creating eerie atmospheres which are imbued into each story. This has the effect of making the audience feel scared for the supernatural activities that the characters have to live through. It is clear that the author took the time to dive deep into the research of the many folktales featured in the collection. He also does include a bibliography at the tail end of the collection so that it is easy to go back to the original source of the tale for some clarification. As usual, the illustrations by Stephen Gammell are brilliantly and eerily done to make for some truly frightening white and black colorings. These make for some very creepy feel in all the tales.

The third novel of the “Scary Stories” series is “More Tales to Chill Your Bones.” As usual Alvin Schwartz does a great job telling spooky stories that range from the just a bit scary with some kind of humorous twist at the ending in the story “Is Something Wrong” to “Just Delicious” and “Harold” that are deeply disturbing. The author is able to juggle between humor and horror and this makes the stories very interesting to read. In some of the stories, he does narrate his tales in the more straightforward fashion that some readers find more palatable. Stephen Gammell’s illustrations are probably the best part of the collection. This is probably why some editions have been dogged by controversy. Gammel is an expert at portraying terrifying situations and when the first of these stories came out it is understandable that some parents would have been upset. However, the illustrations enhance the effectiveness of the horror as they can seriously creep one out. Some of the best images in the collection came from stories such as “The Red Spot,” “Is Something Wrong,” “Sam’s New Pet” and “The Dead Hand.”

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