From Publishers Weekly
For long winter nights Those who get fed up with holiday cheer can turn to darker entertainments with the ghost stories of Haunts: Five Hair-Raising Tales by Angela Shelf Medearis, illus. by Trina Schart Hyman. The lively stories, several of them set in Texas, feature a spell-binding fiddler, a dancer who won't stop and a talking cat. The swirling, shadowy black-and-white illustrations add a mildly spooky edge. Storytelling of a more uplifting nature is offered in Wisdom Tales from Around the World by Heather Forest. Culled from such diverse traditions as Taoist parables, the Panchatantra of ancient India, the Bible and European folktales, the 50 entries, says Forest in an introduction, "pass down homespun wisdom encased in stories." The tales are often no more than a few paragraphs in length, and rarely more than two or three pages.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6. While the devices employed to frighten in this collection are somewhat universal, the five tales (three of which are set in small Texas towns) retain a distinctly Southern flavor. Those familiar with Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Red Shoes" will recognize the "dance-till-you-drop" theme, used quite differently in two of the stories. The "Fiddler Man" terrorizes two orphaned former slave children with his eerie music; only by stuffing cotton (from the field) into their ears does young Lilly manage to rescue herself and her brother. In "Last Dance at the Dew Drop Inn," a young "merry widow" deliberately dances with her husband's corpse till it disintegrates, hoping he will thus stop haunting her. Other scary stock characters include a headless horseman, a witch bound by a curse, and a ghost surrounded by a house full of menacing, talking cats. Hyman's vivid black-and-white illustrations of key scenes enhance the spookiness of the stories. Libraries serving fans of scary tales will find this title to be a good addition to their collections.?Mary Jo Drungil, Niles Public Library District, IL
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.