________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 10 . . . . January 4, 2007


Fear This Book: Your Guide to Fright, Horror, & Things That Go Bump in the Night.           

Jeff Szpirglas. Illustrated by Ramón Pérez and Michael Cho.
Toronto, ON: Maple Tree Press, 2006.
64 pp., pbk. & cl., $12.95 (pbk.), $21.95 (cl.).
ISBN 978-1-897066-67-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-897066-66-9 (cl.).

Subject Heading:
Fear-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Patricia Fay.

*** /4


Vampires Don't Suck

First of all, vampire bats don't suck: they lap blood with their tongues. And of the 1,100 species of bats in the world, only three drink blood. These small winged mammals come out at night while their favored prey is fast asleep: cows, horses, pigs and big birds (humans are not typically on the diet). After biting their prey with razor-sharp teeth, vampire bats spit out chemicals that keep the blood flowing. Vampire bats don't drain large animals of their essential fluids. In a twenty minute sitting, they'll drink around 25 millilitres (2 tablespoons) of blood. If they can't drink for more than two nights in a row, they can starve. That's when these bats become really giving. If a vampire bat with a full belly of blood comes across a starving bat from its own roost, it will regurgitate some of its meal to help out the hungry. A friend indeed!


Everyone is afraid of something. That is, except for the very brave kindergarten students who have told me they aren't afraid of anything. After reading this book by Jeff Szpirglas, they may change their minds. There are, in fact, quite a few things to fear.

     After an author's note in which Szpirglas warns the reader not to turn the page, the reader is immediately thrust into the scary page entitled, "Boo!" complete with a skeleton. On this page, Szpirglas explains our startle reaction and how our brain tells us when to be afraid. Each two-page spread confronts and then explains a common fear. If you are afraid of the dark, go to page 16, ghosts - go to page 22, and snakes - page 34. All our fears are explained in an easy-to-understand manner.

     Humour is used in either the text or the illustrations. For example, the illustration of the shark in the restaurant ordering from a menu that lists "Hot Humanburger" as the Special is quite funny.  The shark tells the waiter, "Yuck - humans!  I'll stick to the sea lion sub."

     Many of the entries also have facts included. Did you know that the average number of shark attacks on humans is 50 per year, with fewer than 10 fatalities? Fear This Book is well researched and gives the reader enough information without becoming too detailed, with many of the entries explained with a touch of humour to lighten the subject matter appropriately.

     The illustrations by Ramón Pérez are well done and add to the enjoyment of each topic. A Table of Contents and Index are provided.


Pat Fay is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB, who only used to be afraid of snakes, but now...


To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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