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The Scary States of America Paperback – July 24, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Paperback, July 24, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The author of numerous series nonfiction and other titles here offers a collection of short stories highlighting all things paranormal. Using the persona of 12-year-old Internet-geek Jason Specter, Teitelbaum presents narratives for each of the 50 states that he says were offered to him by visitors to his blog. Tales range from an Alaska wildlife photographer being chased by an angry Bigfoot, to a young Indiana girl haunting the covered bridge where she lost her life, to a UFO landing in an Iowa crop circle. Some, like "The Hitchhiker," from Alabama, will be familiar to urban-legend aficionados. Many accounts lean toward the grisly (including knife slashings and maggot-filled bodies), but other anecdotes draw attention to gentle apparitions trying to do good deeds for their loved ones. Give this to fans of Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series; computer-savvy readers will also want to check out the book's Web site, which includes excerpts from the text. Weisman, Kay

About the Author

Michael Teitelbaum has always had an interest in the paranormal, despite a rather normal childhood growing up in Brooklyn, New York. These days, Michael and his wife, Sheleigah, split their time between New York City and their (as yet unhaunted) 170-year-old farmhouse in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (July 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385733313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385733311
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,837,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Teitelbaum's latest book is THE VERY HUNGRY ZOMBIE: A PARODY, with illustrations by Jon Apple.

Check out the book trailer under AUTHOR VIDEO on Amazon's Michael Teitelbaum page!

Michael Teitelbaum is the author of more 150 children's books including young adult and middle-grade novels, tie-in novelizations, and picture books based on characters, movies, and television shows as varied as Spider-Man, Superman, Avatar, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Smallville, X-Men, Batman, Transformers, Garfield, and Kermit the Frog. He has worked with all the major trade children's publishers, including Scholastic, Little, Brown, Dorling Kindersley, Random House, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Disney, Reader's Digest, and HarperCollins.

Michael's sports series, BACKYARD SPORTS, is based on the best-selling video game of the same name. He was also editor of Little League Magazine For Kids, and is the author of a two-volume encyclopedia on the Baseball Hall of Fame as well as Breaking Barriers; In Sports, In Life a character education program, based on the life of Jackie Robinson. Michael has also written Sports in America: the 1980s, Behind the Plate: the National League East, Down to the Wire: Baseball's Greatest Pennant Races, Great Moments in Woman's Sports, and WEIRD SPORTS.

His historical biography of Jackie Robinson for 6th and 7th graders, JACKIE ROBINSON: CHAMPION FOR EQUALITY, was published by Sterling Publishing.

Michael is the author of THE SCARY STATES OF AMERICA, 50 short stories, one from each state, all about the paranormal, based on true events, published by Yearling.

Michael's latest book,THE VERY HUNGRY ZOMBIE, done in collaboration with artist Jon Apple, is a parody of a children's classic, published by Skyhorse.

Michael lives with his wife Sheleigah and two talkative cats in their 170-year-old farmhouse in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
THE SCARY STATES OF AMERICA is a collection of 50 short stories, one for each state, about paranormal experiences ranging from ghosts and supernatural creatures to aliens and crop circles. The stories are framed by the narrative of Jason Specter, a 12-year-old collector of all things scary and bizarre. Though presented as "true" stories from readers Jason has reached through his website, both the character of Jason and the stories are fictional, though the cover notes they are "based on true events."

The variety of the stories is what makes them most appealing. Some are standard fare: the hitchhiking ghost, the aliens who kidnap people to run invasive tests on them. Many, however, are unusual takes on the familiar, like the vicious Bigfoot a bear photographer runs into and the heartbroken ghost haunting a toy store, or unique creatures and tales which will be new to most readers, like those of the skunk ape and the shadow people. Part of the enjoyment is in wondering how much of each story might really have happened, and what you would do in similar situations.

Be warned: many of the stories are quite scary, and some rather graphic when it comes to blood and gore. Many times the teller of the tale barely survives to tell about it, and some have come out of it quite a bit worse for wear. The most exciting stories are those in which Jason plays a direct part, often risking life and limb. Readers will appreciate his skeptical yet open-minded approach.

Though those hoping to catch a glimpse into real recorded paranormal events will have to look elsewhere, this book will make a fun read for those who simply like a good scare. Bring it along to your next campfire or sleepover and read a few aloud in the dark. Chills are guaranteed!

Reviewed by: Lynn Crow
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Format: Paperback
I bet you could have a lot of fun if you gathered a group of children's librarians together and asked them which requests they get the most from kids. You'd have the standard boring answers like, "mysteries" or "books like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants". There would also be the weird answers like, "samurais" and "anything that takes place in Barbados". I'd bet good money that some of the answers would be a mix of both, though. For example, it couldn't have been a month ago when a kid came up to me asking for a book involving aliens. "Do you want real aliens or stories about them?" I asked. The kid wavered a bit, and that was when I knew what book I could have recommended right then and there (had it been on my shelf and available). "The Scary States of America" by Michael Teitelbaum is the title to hand to any kid who wonders where on earth they can find some good old-fashioned scary stories. There's only so many times you can hand someone a copy of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark before they start getting bored. Teitelbaum's book is certainly bereft of creepy pictures, but the images that pop up in this bit of kiddie horror will undoubtedly stay in your mind much longer than you initially anticipated. Hand this out to kids looking for tales of the strange, wild, and weird, but be sure they can handle the spooks (not to mention gore). There's something for everyone in this book.

Here's the concept: There are fifty states in America and for each one our hero, Jason Specter, has collected a spooky tale.
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Format: Paperback
Do you remember as a child the heart pounding anticipation with which you sat through an episode of the "Twighlight Zone", or "The Outer Limits"? Remember how you couldn't wait for the next week's show? Reading The Scary States of America recreated for me the same feelings--the unease, the suspense, the tingling sensation that crawls up the back of your neck. I thought I'd read this book by meandering from "state to state" but instead I read it from cover to cover. Sharp and well-written, you'll want to make time for your own Scary States Marathon.
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This book was THE scariest book that I have ever read! Every time I finished a story, chills would go up and down my spine and I'd jump at the next noise. The thing that made this book especially terrifying was that all these stories are true! I would definitely recommend this book to any kid or adult who wants to give himself a scare. READ THIS BOOK!
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Format: Paperback
First, in all honesty, I did not buy my copy of Michael Teitelbaum's "The Scary States of America" - I won it in a radio contest. I'm sure I've more than made up for it because, after reading it, I ordered a dozen copies to give to friends this holiday season.

Teitelbaum is such a fantastic storyteller that it's easy to forget that you're reading "weird and terrifying stories based on true events." Each encounter is ripe with action, suspense, and that certain "something" that gives a spooky tale its lasting ring. He's also kept the topics lively by mixing tried and true ghost stories with UFO sightings, tales of voodoo, a run-in with Bigfoot, and even a zombie for good measure.

My daughter, only 8-years old, couldn't put it down and read it from cover to cover in three days! All of her friends have been begging to borrow the book or at least get her to retell one of Teitelbaum's chillers with the author's same flair. Looking for a great gift for a finicky tween or teen? This is it.

"The Scary States of America" not only leaves you checking your closet for ghosts before bedtime, it also leaves some cash in your wallet. Teitelbaum has packed his thrifty collection with 50 stories, one from each state, so it's a bargain at only $7.99!

Beth Brown
Author of "Haunted Battlefields: Virginia's Civil War Ghosts" and "Conducting a Paranormal Investigation"
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