FICTION

The Puppet’s Payback and Other Chilling Tales

HMH/Clarion. Sept. 2020. 192p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780358067320.
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Gr 3-5–Hahn returns with more chilling tales for young readers, this time in short story form. This collection of 10 stories ranges from ghosts to witches and everything in between. Hahn’s tales are typically gut-wrenchingly terrifying, often with grotesque monsters and an abundance of horrifying detail; but the stories included in this selection tend more on the side of creepy, eerie incidents. These stories are more accessible for sensitive readers who are still looking for a scare, but are not ready to delve into more ghastly selections. The format would work well for read-alouds, as many of the stories are short enough that they could be shared in a group. Hahn also includes a non-horror story that explains how she became a writer, particularly one of ghost stories, which will be of interest to young readers and could be used to inspire young writers in a classroom setting.
VERDICT This collection of short spooky tales is accessible for more sensitive readers, but will still find fans with Hahn’s regulars and horror aficionados alike. A suggested purchase for most middle grade collections.

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