About a year ago, my eldest daughter brought a book home from the school library called Tell Me A Scary Story... But Not TOO Scary!. We read it at home and really enjoyed it. It was truly a scary story — but not TOO scary for even my youngest. And when I discovered that it had been written by Carl Reiner, a 12-time Emmy-winner, writer, producer, director, comedian, and actor... I was suitably impressed!
Writing for kids isn't as easy as it sounds. And engaging their imaginations seems to be the key. Reiner seems to have found that secret — telling the kids just enough to let their minds fill in the rest. That's really the trick to any good scary story in my mind.
The first Tell Me A Scary Story... was in the spirit of a classic Sesame Street board book with Grover called The Monster at the End of This Book written by Jon Stone and illustrated by Michael Smolin. Grover begs the reader not to turn the pages, for the monster may be too scary — but the kids have to find out who the monster is, of course!
As with all things, eventually we forgot about the book. But now there's a sequel coming! Tell Me Another Scary Story... But Not TOO Scary! picks up right where the last one ended, with a little boy heading off to visit his neighbor — Mr. Neewollah. Mr. Neewollah (Halloween spelled backwards) makes scary masks and costumes for scary Halloween movies and was making a special scary costume for the little boy this year.
The boy is a bit older this time, and Mr. Neehwollah calls him on the phone and asks if he could come to his house for a hamburger and to show him the scary Halloween costume he'd made. And that's when the scary story begins... And Mr. Reiner gives plenty of chances for youngsters who think it's too scary to turn back and close the book. My two daughters just smiled and said, "Let's keep reading!"