More Short & Shivery, retold by Robert Sans Souci, features a collection of thirty folktales from around the world. It belongs to the same literary tradition as works like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, aimed at drawing in younger audiences through spooky twists and turns. They offer clever ways to enchant children with the wonders of reading by gently terrifying them.
Among the collection are selections such as “The Vampire Cat,” which tells of a demonic feline who takes the place of a Japanese prince’s love, and “Hold Him, Tabb!” about a haunted house in Virginia. Common themes include unexpected encounters with mysterious beings, as in “Two Snakes,” to misdeeds punished by otherworldly forces, evidenced by “The Mouse Tower.”
However, all these stories are just as enjoyable for adults to read as children. Each one gives glimpses into various cultures and mythologies, only taking a few minutes to complete–which makes for fun, light reading in-between other tasks. They are also brilliant examples of the fact that works of horror do not need to be particularly gruesome or graphic to send a delightful chill down the spine. They relate veiled warnings about dangers present in our world, where monstrous creatures represent threats that are usually far more human in nature.
Whether read quietly by children, read aloud to them by adults, or savored by the adults themselves, More Short & Shivery is a welcome addition to the shelves of folkloric treasures through the ages.