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Children's Literature Reviews
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Ghosts, vampires, and werewolves : eerie tales from Transylvania
[retold] by Mihai Spariosu and Dezso Benedek ; illustrated by Laszlo Kubinyi.
New York : Orchard Books, c1994.
vii, 104 p. : ill. ; 26 cm.

Annotations:

Includes bibliographical references.
Includes sixteen tales from Transylvanian folklore, arranged in three sections: Ghosts, Vampires, and Werewolves; Haunted Treasures; and Eerie Fairy Tales.

Best Books:

Books for You: An Annotated Booklist for Senior High, Thirteenth Edition, 1997 ; National Council of Teachers of English; United States

Reviews:

Hazel Rochman (Booklist, October 15, 1994 (Vol. 91, No. 4))
A handsome stranger courts a beautiful maiden by day and turns into a rotten corpse at night. A severed hand is sent special delivery to an abandoned castle. A young man watches in horror as his arms become covered in dark gray fur, and, with a long howl, he joins a pack of werewolves in the wilderness. Scary, sometimes gruesome, with dark humor and dramatic immediacy, these stories are great for storytelling and reading aloud. The authors are immigrants to the U.S., now teaching comparative literature at the University of Georgia. They heard versions of these stories while growing up in the Transylvanian Alps and retell them here in the simple, direct style of the oral tradition. There's a fascinating general introduction, and brief notes at the back discuss each story, including where the authors heard it, who told it to them, and how it fits with general folklore motifs and with the religious and political history of the region. Laszlo Kubinyi's shadowy pen-and-ink drawings with close cross-hatching capture the mystery of demons and transformation in the moonlight. Category: Older Readers. 1994, Orchard, $16.95 and $16.99. Gr. 6-10.

Susie Wilde (Children's Literature)
There are many, many spooky story collections appearing this year, but this is my favorite for children ten and up. The sixteen stories are pure because they are brought directly from their country of origin by two authors who were raised by storytellers. Do they ever have stories to tell! The tales are steeped in ancient wisdom and will set readers reeling with their authenticity. These are not tales for the faint of heart; they are pure undiluted spook stories where heroes face all kinds of chilling supernatural forces. This is a book that will impress ghost story lovers of all ages. 1994, Orchard, $17.95. Ages 10 up.

Betsy Hearne (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January 1995 (Vol. 48, No. 5))
If you have some smart-alecky kids who think folktales are wimpy, lay this one on them. In fact, those who laugh at folklore are at high risk here: in "The Forest," a woodcutter who's disrespectful of the local trees' spirits sees one son bleed to death in a bear trap and the other suffer a fatal blow from an ax; finally, a pile of logs pursues the woodcutter down a river until he's "impaled on the tree branches with the logs rushing underneath him, tearing his legs off. The white foam of the river soon turned red with the blood of the unfortunate soul." Ghosts, vampires, and werewolves aren't even the half of it. Two other sections on haunted treasures and eerie fairy tales bring to a total of sixteen these Halloween specials for year-round consumption. Generous source notes identify informants (most of them acquaintances or relatives of the authors), as well as providing cultural context and descriptive background. This makes the book a first-hand collection-unusual in juvenile publishing, where most folklore is culled or adapted from previously published sources. Kubinyi's formal and richly textured line drawings, filled with intricate hatch and crosshatch reminiscent of engraving, are generally not as terrifying as the text, but maybe a little reassurance is not amiss in this case. There are some romantic threads and even a few happy endings, so junior high readers will find the book an apt blend to read alone or hear aloud in cases of those classroom doldrums that call for a dose of literary adrenalin. R--Recommended. (c) Copyright 1995, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 1994, Orchard, 104p, $16.99 and $16.95. Grades 5-9.

Subjects:

Tales--Romania--Transylvania.
Folklore--Romania--Transylvania.
Supernatural--Folklore.
LanguageCall NumberLCCNDewey DecimalISBN/ISSN
English (eng) PZ8.1.S729 Gh 1994
93048837 398.2/09498
0531068609
0531087107 (lib. bdg.)
9780531068601
9780531087107
9780531068601
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