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- Count Olaf, you are so mean! The American author Lemony Snicket wrote a series of 13 novels called “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” In the series, the three Baudelaire children—Violet, Klaus, and Sunny—are pursued by the evil Count Olaf. After their parents die in a fire, the count was named the children’s guardian, and he constantly schemes to rob them of their inheritance.
- Is this the scariest story ever published? In 1902, the English writer W. W. Jacobs published the short story “The Monkey’s Paw.” The story is based on a folk superstition about three wishes granted to the possessor of a dried monkey’s paw. The first wish unexpectedly has disastrous results, leading the paw owner to use the second wish, with even more disastrous results. The owner must use the final wish to undo the harm caused by the second wish. The final paragraphs of the story are hair-raising in their suspense.
- Seeking a bunch of good frights? The American children’s author R. L. Stine is a good choice. Stine wrote dozens of suspense and horror novels for children in the late 1900’s and early 2000’s. He wrote the “Goosebumps” series for younger readers and the “Fear Street” series for older children. His books tell stories of ordinary young people who unexpectedly encounter the supernatural, the terrifying, and the unusual. In many novels, the young characters must find ways to defeat evil forces, ranging from ghosts or monsters to insane killers.
- Nobody messes with Matilda. The English author Roald Dahl wrote a 1988 children’s novel called Matilda about a girl with magical powers. In school, Matilda uses her powers to battle Agatha Trunchbull, a tyrant of a teacher who makes the lives of her students miserable with her cruel punishments.
- Nothing like a good graveyard story. British-born author Neil Gaiman wrote The Graveyard Book (2008), a children’s novel about a boy raised by vampires, werewolves, witches, and ghosts in a graveyard.
- The best scary stories are retold for generations. Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson has chilled generations of readers with his short story “The Body Snatcher” (1884). The story ends on a stormy night with a terrifying carriage ride from a graveyard.
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