From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up-- A collection of original chillers. Several of the contributors are well known in the genre (Yolen, William Sleator, Bruce Coville, Diana Wynne Jones, and Anne E. Crompton), and others less so. The settings are mostly contemporary, urban America, but China, Canada, Britain, and the Philippines are also represented. Most represent a fairly straightforward prose narrative style, but there are two with a folklorish tone, and even a movie script. All are suitably creepy, although not lacking in humor. The gender balance of protagonists is a little better than usual, with nine stories featuring a male main character, five female, and four shared or not indicated (and irrelevant). Inanimate objects, some of them disturbingly active, feature prominently, as the title suggests. The pieces vary in length from a three-page quickie to a novella. There is a short introduction that may or may not be read, as it's a somewhat self-conscious apologia for this type of fantasy. There are some welcome notes on the contributors. The only real fault is the predictable one for this type of anthology: the quality of the selections is uneven, with some stories first-rate and others only so-so. Yolen's The Babysitter and Sleator's The Elevator are real heart-pound ers, but Jones' Chair Person is a one-joke piece that goes on far too long. The Scarlet Batling rates top marks for authenticity, but only a passing grade for child appeal. On the other hand Duffy's Jacket would be a perfect Friday afternoon classroom read-aloud or booktalk centerpiece. Overall, worth recommending for selective reading and as a good alternative to less-suitable horror titles demanded by this age group. --Barbara Hutcheson, Greater Victoria Public Library, B.C., Canada
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