From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up—Poe's writing is as effectively horrific today as it was in the mid-1800s, and this volume features five relentless favorites: "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Masque of the Red Death," "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Cask of Amontillado," and "The Oval Portrait." The book offers a succinct analysis at the beginning of each story, making students' literary comprehension and emotional apprehension complete. Definitions or synonyms are provided for Poe's challenging vocabulary at the bottom of the pages of the tales; instructional use for vocabulary building is a natural. DuBois' paintings reflect a teetering place between the real and the nightmare-his technique combines folk art and Postimpressionism. "The Masque of the Red Death" is the story to revisit with today's teens. The brazen audacity of a prince who thinks that he can escape the insidious claim of infectious disease and plague is a creepy precursor to the mysteries of today's fight against these invisible attacks. This book is ripe with opportunities to discuss literature, art, science, and psychology.—Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY
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Introductory comments and appropriately atmospheric paintings enhance this handsomely packaged collection of five of Poe's unsettling short stories--"The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Masque of the Red Death," "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Cask of Amontillado," and "The Oval Portrait." A biographical essay discussing Poe's pervasive themes and his significant influence on both sf and mystery writing opens the way to the tales, each of which is prefaced by a summary and questions for readers to ponder. As Poe's language is difficult even for practiced modern readers, the editor also provides glosses for unusual words and literary references within the narratives. The illustrations, featuring indistinct, thickly brushed figures placed against shadowed backgrounds, add effective notes of eeriness, terror, and dejection to this introduction to a great and troubled writer. Another well-appointed volume in the ongoing Stories for Young People series. John Peters
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