________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 41 . . . . June 22, 2018

cover

Haunted Canada 8: More Chilling True Tales.

Joel A. Sutherland. Illustrated by Mark Savona.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2018.
115 pp., trade pbk. & ebook, $8.99 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4431-4883-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4431-4888-7 (ebook).

Subject Headings:
Ghosts-Canada-Juvenile literature.
Haunted places-Canada-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Stephanie Johnson.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

Lowell's legs were falling asleep and his back ached. He was hiding in the bottom of a dusty cupboard that had sat unused in a corner of the farmhouse's basement for a long time. It was pitch-black in the cupboard and as hot as an oven. Sweat ran down his body in thick rivulets. A spider crawled up his bare leg, but Lowell ignored it, refusing to move a muscle or make a sound…

Lowell pushed on the doors. They didn't budge. He pushed a little harder. They still didn't open…He kicked and pounded and yelled and screamed as loud as he could manage.

But then he heard something that made him quiet down in a hurry. It was a man's voice, and he sounded so close that it seemed like he was speaking directly inside Lowell's head.

"You're trapped," the unseen man said in a tone that was laced with malice.

De de de… This is the tone that prevails throughout the "Haunted Canada" series: dark, creeping and filled with goosebumps. In this newest collection of stories, Sutherland finds more locales across Canada that feature hauntings in their past or present. The 23 stories range from a few pages to 10 pages, giving a nice mix of length for all levels of readers. The language is straightforward but does have some advanced vocabulary mixed in to add depth and challenge. The stories are high interest and generally fast-paced, although some focus more on history which slows down the pacing. Each story is unique in its spookiness, from possessed dolls, to spectres in the night, to poltergeists scratching on the walls. There is something for everyone in this book. Like Sutherland says in the introduction, "That's part of the fun of spooky stories. Fear is subjective. What scares me might not scare you, and vice versa."

      The only downfall of this book is its similarity to the others in the series. Admittedly, it would be hard to differentiate collections of ghost stories, but it still comes across as same-old. Having said that, the thrill of coming across a story set in a town you know dispels any such ennui and you once again get sucked in by the chill on your skin. Overall, Haunted Canada 8 is a fun collection of stories that make great read-alouds, provides great hooks for reluctant readers, and, of course, is simply a great read for kids that love getting lost in the dark and being terrified.

Recommended.

Stephanie Johnson is a graduate of the Master of Library and Information Studies Program from the University of Alberta and is the Director of Devon Public Library.

To comment on this title or this review, contact cm@umanitoba.ca.

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