Book Review: The Puppet’s Payback and Other Chilling Tales by Mary Downing Hahn
The Puppet’s Payback and Other Chilling Tales
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Published: September 1, 2021
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
The author of wildly popular ghost stories, Mary Downing Hahn has created a group of tales for fans of her “scary but not too scary” books. Even the stories without actual ghosts are spooky. Each tale turns something ordinary—a pigeon, a white dress, a stranger on the bus, a puppet—into a sinister link to the supernatural. For the human characters, secrets from the past or careless behavior in the present can lead to serious trouble. All the stories have a young person as the central character, so all will resonate with young readers who enjoy the eerie, the creepy, and the otherworldly. In a concluding note, the author talks about how she came to write ghost stories.
Another amazing kid’s horror book by Hahn! I really liked this anthology! The stories were all creepy and had me nervous without being too scary. This fits in perfectly with Scary Tales ( see our double review for the series here) and is a great way to introduce kids to horror. Perfect for Halloween!!
Short Story Sunday: Graceful Burdens by Roxane Gay
Series: Out of Line
Author: Roxane Gay
Narrator: Samira Wiley
Published: September 1, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: June 8, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
From New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay comes an unforgettable tale of nightmarish bureaucracy in which genetic profiling has redefined the “unfit mother.”
A trip to the library prompts one woman to question her fate in this galvanizing short story. For a woman like Hadley, deemed not acceptable to procreate, there’s only one recourse. Unlicensed for motherhood, she can alleviate her grief and frustration at a “baby library,” where a curiously endless supply of infants is available for a two-week loan. But the borrowed life that serves as a temporary balm leads to a journey of self-discovery that will forever change the direction of Hadley’s future.
Roxane Gay’s Graceful Burdens is part of Out of Line, an incisive collection of funny, enraging, and hopeful stories of women’s empowerment and escape. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.
This story takes place in a dystopian world where women are evaluated to determine whether or not they will be permitted to have children. They undergo testing at age 16 to see if they will be allowed to procreate. We see both sides of this world through Hadley who is unlicensed to have children and Seraphina who is licensed.
There are libraries in this world where only women can ‘borrow’ a child for up to two weeks. These children are no longer ‘borrowable’ once they hit three years old. Hadley checks out a baby girl as only girls can be ‘borrowed’. We also see Seraphina who has children but doesn’t really want them. It still seems like the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ even in this dystopian world.
I can’t say much more than this because it would give away what happens in the short story. There is much more that could be done with this story: It is another one I would like to see expanded because of the direction it goes in. It is an intriguing story that also makes you think.
Book Review: Ghost: Thirteen Haunting Tales to Tell by Illustratus
Ghost: Thirteen Haunting Tales to Tell
Published: August 13, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Ghost: Thirteen Haunting Tales to Tell is a ghost story collection for middle schoolers.
Featuring the only true ghost stories in existence (as the book itself will tell you), readers discover 13 eerie encounters that are perfect for sharing—if they dare.
With tales about a finger against the inside of a mirror, a wooded area where the trees look back, and a basement door blocked by a brick wall so thick it stifles the screams from below, this book is sure to haunt anyone who can’t resist a spooky story.
• Filled with creepy poems and tales
• Features striking, bone-chilling illustrations from Disney-Pixar talent
• Book contains all original stories
This haunting book will consume your imagination and keep readers of every age up long past their bedtimes.
• Great for those who can’t get enough of Halloween, ghost stories, scary movies, and all things spooky, as well as librarians and teachers looking for a thrilling read to share with students
• The perfect book to read by a campfire or during a slumber party—or alone under the covers in the middle of the night
This is a great one for kids! It’s very Scary Stories, but definitely unique! The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and I think I actually liked this anthology better, overall, than Scary Stories. The connection between all the stories was general enough that it didn’t affect the stories, but that everything felt like it all went together. The stories are short and simple and chilling! I really liked it a lot!!!!