Half-Minute Horrors offers drive-thru drama, with over seventy speedy stories of the supernaturally or naturally threatening, most under a page long and none over three.
Recurring themes include babysitters, alone; identity, suddenly changed; the dead, confusion about who is and who isn't; also, clowns.
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Plot structure favors the sudden twist or cliffhanger at the end, and titles often provide a clue to a story's meaning. Success is somewhat variable, but the flabby stories are over in the blink of an eye, and there are plenty of entertaining entries: Kenneth Oppel's "In Hiding" in which the narrator waits, but not for what readers might expect ; Sarah L.
Thomson's "Cat's Paw" about things that skitter in the night , and Mariko Tamaki's "Wet Sand, Little Teeth" in which a girl learns to be more careful about where she plays. Ultimately, though, the real achievement here is the appealing short-attention-span formula, and readers will relish flipping through to find favorites and savoring tasty plotlines for later retelling. Adults with a dramatic flair will find plenty of entries suitable for a speedy readaloud, and the collection could also provide creative-writing prompts or write-alike ideas.
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An index cheerfully mixes authors and themes, so that, for instance, "Scieszka, Jon" is entertainingly followed by "Screams. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
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