Monday, August 09, 2021

MMGM- Ghosts!

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
and #IMWAYR day 

Rissi, Anica Mrose. Hide and Don't Seek
August 3rd 2021 by HarperCollins/Quill Tree Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

While short story collections don't circulate well in my library, SCARY short story collections do. Hide and Don't Seek is an excellent addition to titles like Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Lubar's Lawn Weenies tales (which are downright chilling!), San Souci's Dare to Be Scared volumes, R.L. Stine's compilations like Fear and Beware, Scholastic's Midnight Library books, and the 2020 tribute to Schwartz, Don't Turn Out the Lights.  

Yes, I'll be glad to wait while you go add those to your list of books to purchase. 

The upside is that this book is so awesome that I even approve of the scary poems, and I am notoriously picky about anything in verse. The downside is that I find it very difficult to review short story collections. The format of this struck me as very similar to the Scary Stories books, down to the illustrations at the start of each tale, but these were much more chilling. 

Chilling in what way? That's the tough thing to put my finger on. I'd say that these all address fears I didn't even know I had, and made my stomach drop on the last paragraph. If these were told around a campfire with a flashlight strategically placed under someone's chin, the last paragraphs in most of these entries would elicit lots of shrieking and burying of heads into pillows! 

My favorite story is probably the one from the point of view of the family dog, trying to keep his child safe from the wiles of the cat. DON'T PUT THE DOG INSIDE THE GATE! KEEP HIM WITH YOU! Well, I saw that one coming, but it was still petrifying. 

I knew this author from her sweet and charming Anna Banana series, but Hide and Don't Seek proves that she has some serious horror writing chops. Just be very careful if those chops are coming from a shovel that is aimed at YOU!

Williams, Dinah. True Hauntings #2: Battlefield Ghosts
August 3rd 2021 by Scholastic Nonfiction
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Maybe my students are unusual, but when I saw this, I KNEW that it would be a worthy successor to True Hauntings: Deadly Disasters. I have long accepted that my readers love war books (and persuaded concerned parents that this is not a concerning phase) as well as killer ghost and murder books. Sometimes even the children express concern that they want to read those books, but I reassure them that it is a well-defined developmental stage. To combine the two is rather brilliant. Here's why. 

I have a friend who was one of the little war mongers, even though he is generally a kind and peaceable fellow. He was obsessed with the Civil War and WWII as a child, and even now reads weighty tomes on those conflicts. When I mentioned True Hauntings to him and asked "Would you have read this?", he replied "No, probably not." Then he launched into long descriptions of the Weird War Tales that his mother would get for a dime with the covers ripped off at the local drugstore. (He did not know that this was not quite legal!) He recounted several of these, then told me about a book his second grade teacher had given him that was somewhat similar. Clearly, these books had a big impact on him, so when he finished, I said "So you WOULD have read this book?"

With its wide variety of battles and ghosts throughout history and around the world (starting in 1185 Japan and ending in Okinawa in 1945, but heavy on US battles), this has a great formula of telling about the military conflict, giving us some good scenes, then picking up the thread of the subsequent ghost hauntings. There are a good number of illustrations and pictures included, and the print is just the right size and doesn't crowd the pages. 

I really liked that additional information needed to understand the setting is included right in the story, but there are a few sidebars as well. I also thought the tone was perfect: not too sensational, but sympathetic to the pain that war caused. It doesn't hurt that the stories end with a feeling of suspense. 

The only downside of the e edition was that the pages turned very slowly, since book design includes a lot of all black pages, or pages that look like crumpled paper. Since most readers will pick this up in paperback at a Scholastic book fair and carry it around with them until the pages really ARE crumpled, this won't matter. Follett does has this available in a prebind for library use, and I definitely have it on my list to purchase for the new school year.

Before the pandemic, I was posting my outfits for no particularly good reason. When I didn't see students in person, it was hard to get myself motivated to wear anything but jeans and sweaters. To make myself accountable, I'll post my daily outfits, unless I get complaints!

I wear a lot of skirts, mainly because I think it honors my fore mothers, who managed to accomplish a lot without ever wearing slacks! My mother, who retired in 1995 after 38 years teaching elementary school, ALWAYS wore suits or dresses with heels. 

She was a little leery of my thrift store shopping, but came to appreciate it later. She'd be pleased that this Lands End dress and Ann Taylor jacket were $3 each, and the Liz Claibourne scarf $2 years ago. The ribbon broach is from a friend, but the tiny "Y" pin is also a thrift find. Since I am now "pre-elderly", I can rock necklaces AND pins, just like the Queen!


  1. Hide and Don't Seek sounds great - love ghost-themed short stories!

  2. I can imagine tweens loving horror stories. And, these book do sound chilling. Too strong for my heart, as I don't like to be scared. But perfect for fall campfires and Halloween!

  3. I love that you post your outfits! :)

  4. Like Patricia Tilton above, I'm not much for scary stories either, but I can imagine lots of young readers are, and both of these books sound perfect for them! I love your comment about how Hide and Don't Seek addresses fears you didn't even know you had—that is seriously something. And Battlefield Ghosts really does sound perfect for kids between the ghosts and the wars—that is so funny that even kids are sometimes concerned why they love all the war books! I love your outfit, and I am impressed that you found all that for just $8—and the Y pin is a nice touch! Thanks so much for the great reviews!

  5. Oh, I definitely find the same thing about short story collections! the scary ones are the only ones that ever seem to circ, and they circ pretty well, even outside of the usual spooky season.

    My mum can't stand the thought of thrifting, she definitely finds my fondness for thrift hunting a bit odd.

  6. If I was still working I would purchase both these books in a heartbeat. I probably wouldn't read them since I don't do scary, but I had readers who would have devoured the.
    I love the outfit!

  7. I love the outfit and hearing about all your thrift store finds. Good for you. An Anne Taylor jacket for $3??? Wow. I probably won't read either book. I just don't like to be scared anymore. I used to, but I was much younger then. They sound good though. Just for other people. Thanks for the post.