cover image TELL ME A SCARY STORY… BUT NOT TOO SCARY

TELL ME A SCARY STORY… BUT NOT TOO SCARY

Carl Reiner, Author, James Bennett, Illustrator , illus. by Jam

A boy sneaks into his neighbor's basement and comes face-to-face with a red-eyed ghoul. "I can't describe this awful monster except to say that it looked exactly like—like the picture on the next page!" gasps comedian Reiner, who asks, "Shall we turn the page—or is it too scary?" Bennett, who caricatures Reiner as he did Jerry Seinfeld in Halloween, doesn't pull punches in his creepy images, and these nearly live up to the narrator's promise to "give you nightmares forever." Gross-out enthusiasts will probably lap this up. Other youngsters, however, may indeed be haunted by the flesh-crawling close-ups of monsters (monster masks, as it turns out) and might prefer Annie Was Warned (reviewed above), which rewards a similarly teasing, scary buildup with a comic ending. Or kids can skip the pictures altogether by listening to the audio CD included here, which features Reiner in a masterly readaloud (but watch out for those irresistible references to turning the page). Ages 4-up. (Sept.)