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My Response to Neil Gaiman's Modest Proposal

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The master-of-the-macabre suggests that:

... on Hallowe'en or during the week of Hallowe'en, we give each other scary books. Give children scary books they'll like and can handle. Give adults scary books they'll enjoy.

Great idea, I say. And since there are plenty of well-known books for kids-who-love-to-be-scared out there, I figured I'd suggest a few recently published books that may be less familiar. By all means add your own suggestions, old and new, in the comments.
  • Jim, Who Ran Away From His Nurse, and Was Eaten By a Lion by Hilaire Belloc is a delightfully deadpan parody of a cautionary tale, amusingly illustrated (with flaps and such) by the clever Mini Gray.
  • Calef Brown's Hallowilloween, also a picture book for older kids, is filled with silly poems that are as likely to produce giggles as shivers.
  • A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz, on the other hand, has some truly spine-chilling moments leavened by wit and compassion. An utterly original take on the Grimm fairy tales, I'm reading it aloud right now to my 4th grade class and they are loving it. More from me about it here.
  • In The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall Mary Downing Hahn mixes together a Victorian waif, a forbidding manor, an accidental (or was it?) death of a child, and a graveyard with a deliciously spooky story as the result.
  • A haunted house is also central to the first of Jacqueline West's Books of Elsewhere series, The Shadows, along with magical objects, talking animals, a variety of ghosts, and an alternate world entered through paintings, making it a compelling read.
  • The Boneshaker by Kate Milford is an atmospheric and eerie story featuring a machine-loving girl, Dr. Jake Limberleg's Nostrum Fair and Technological Medicine Show, and the Devil.
  • And finally, for teens, there is Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown's Picture the Dead. Set during the Civil War when spiritualism, spirit photography in particular, was in vogue, Jennie Lovell tells her chilling story through text and the pages of her scrapbook.
  • Also at educating alice.