cover image Give Yourself/Fright

Give Yourself/Fright

Joan Aiken, Author Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers $14.95 (180p) ISBN 978-0-440-50120-6

There is something for every chill-seeking reader in this masterful gallery of moody settings, curious circumstances and a host of haunting characters who star in 13 remarkably varied tales of the supernatural. And each story offers an exciting twist that spurs the imagination. In ``Wing Quack Flap,'' the ghost of a beloved pet duck brings comfort to a small boy and his aunt, until a mean old man learns of its existence. The horror is of a psychological nature in ``Aunt Susan,'' the story of a widowed aunt who goes to live with a young couple, the Caraways; a novice in psychological studies, Aunt Susan probes the ``deeper meaning'' of gentle Mr. Caraway's violent suspense novels, and there the trouble begins. The title story explores the universal challenge of good and evil, as two argumentative brothers duel to a dark and frightening conclusion. Some of the stories leave more to the imagination than others; it is not always clear what the events of the story are. But that vagueness is rare, and almost always buoyed by the surrounding details of Aiken's wonderfully creative imagination. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)