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Ghosts! Ghostly Tales from Folklore

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Do you believe in ghosts? Some people do . . . These spooky -- and funny -- tales about singing ghosts, toast-eating ghosts, and ghosts no one even guesses are sure to send shivers up and down your spine. Why not retell them to your friends and see if you can make their spines tingle, too?


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Do you believe in ghosts? Some people do . . . These spooky -- and funny -- tales about singing ghosts, toast-eating ghosts, and ghosts no one even guesses are sure to send shivers up and down your spine. Why not retell them to your friends and see if you can make their spines tingle, too?

30 review for Ghosts! Ghostly Tales from Folklore

  1. 4 out of 5

    Josiah

    For folk tales and scary stories, especially ones taken from legends that have been making the rounds for many years, Alvin Schwartz is always my guy. He proved his ability at shaping and retelling tales of terror in his Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy, crafting versions of legends that still give me goosebumps no matter how many times I've read them, and he's almost as good at writing scary stories for even younger kids, those making the transition from picture books to chapter books For folk tales and scary stories, especially ones taken from legends that have been making the rounds for many years, Alvin Schwartz is always my guy. He proved his ability at shaping and retelling tales of terror in his Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy, crafting versions of legends that still give me goosebumps no matter how many times I've read them, and he's almost as good at writing scary stories for even younger kids, those making the transition from picture books to chapter books. As with In a Dark, Dark Room, Alvin Schwartz in Ghosts!: Ghostly Tales from Folklore has managed to conjure up a little bit of that hair-raising sensation from his books for older kids, despite the fact that these stories are generally only a few pages long and never use more than three or four simple sentences per page. In truth, I can't think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy this book. Ghosts! opens with "The Haunted House", a pithy tale derived from an English humor bit that floated around in the 1970s. What could have been told as a scary story is instead framed comedically, and gets things started for younger readers with the assurance that this book won't be too frightening for them. Next comes "Susie", which for my money is probably the best story of the whole lot. A surprise awaits a young girl named Nan and her mother as they find a nice little cat they want to buy from a pet shop. Purchasing that particular cat, however, isn't as simple as it seems. After this is a story with a definite old United Kingdom feel to it, "A Little Green Bottle", which hearkens back to Gaelic legends about troublesome ghosts who harass the same person in death as they did when they were alive. In this case the victim is a boy named Joe, who seems fated to be bothered by the ghost of a former classmate for the rest of his life. That is, until he comes up with an idea that could get him off the hook... "The Umbrella" is a somewhat odd interlude about a man who receives an unexpected small gift while doing a good deed in a graveyard one day, only to pay it forward in surprising fashion many years later when the right time has come. "Three Little Ghosts" is just a single page in length, but its poetry is charming and funny, and the accompanying illustration is a good addition to the text. "The Teeny-Tiny Woman" is a "jump" story for the younger set, a scaled-down version of "Mi Ti Doughty Walker", "The Big Toe", "The Attic", and a hundred other stories designed to provide that "jump" moment right at the end of the narrative. The final tale in the collection is "Ghost, Get Lost", which isn't as much a story as it is the relation of a short incantation said to banish any unwanted ghost if put into use. The book concludes with a brief rundown of where each basic story was found, and whether or not it was changed for the purposes of this book. No one can hold a candle to the illustrations done by Stephen Gammell in Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories trilogy, but Victoria Chess does a nice job in her own right for Ghosts!, subtly bringing out the scariness of each story without making it too intense for the youngest readers. I especially liked her drawing of the sunset over the graveyard on the final page opposite the "Where the Stories Come From" section, the orange beams of the setting sun softly illuminating a headstone with the words "THE END" engraved on it, a laurel wreath laid respectfully on the grassy mound in honor of the person resting in peace below. Even as this surprisingly touching scene demonstrates that there really is nothing to fear in a graveyard, it's just a place for us to remember and honor our loved ones who can no longer be here with us, we're also reminded that the preceding stories have all been about the idea that death isn't always "THE END", that there's humor and adventure and discovery associated with it and not necessarily anything to fear. Victoria Chess imparts all this in a single sweetly wistful illustration, which is an accomplishment. I'm a fan of Alvin Schwartz for life, and I know I'm going to be back at it with this book many more times in the future, enjoying the stories on my own and with others at the Halloween season or anytime, for that matter. We lost a lot when Alvin Schwartz passed away in 1992, but I will never forget his profound contributions to children's literature, and I hope others remember as well. Ghosts! is yet another solid storytelling effort from one of our best children's folklorists, and I could easily be persuaded to give it two and a half stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Greta

    Fabulous!!! My students couldn't get enough of this book...they fought over it during independent reading time. Not to scary for first grade, but yet offers some chills. There's stories about a ghost bully and a ghost cat. I wish this author would write more ghost stories for this age. My first class earns campfire stories once in a while and we sit around a fake campfire and read tales and eat smores ..this book is perfect, and it is very hard to find scary tales appropriate for first grade. Fabulous!!! My students couldn't get enough of this book...they fought over it during independent reading time. Not to scary for first grade, but yet offers some chills. There's stories about a ghost bully and a ghost cat. I wish this author would write more ghost stories for this age. My first class earns campfire stories once in a while and we sit around a fake campfire and read tales and eat smores ..this book is perfect, and it is very hard to find scary tales appropriate for first grade.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    The ghost stories in this book are short and to the point without being too scary. Great for a beginning reader to gain confidence reading!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Madame Jane

    Complied by the author of Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark, these tales are creepy good. The illustrations are as good as the stories.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rochelle

    This was the book that led me to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and then those led me to Goosebumps and then those led me to adult fiction, horror. I remember reading this book, borrowed from the library, over and over when I was in 4th grade. All I could remember about it was a story about ghosts with buttery feet. After about an hour of searching online I found a copy on Amazon and for 3.99 I relived another piece of my childhood.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    Great book for young kids and the stories have nice light chills while also being funny. The words are great for early readers and there’s a good variety in the stories to keep a kid interested. The kids I read it to love the Teeny-Tiny Woman story, and spent hours acting it out. The characters are animated and alive in the illustrations.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Earl

    Scary stories geared for an even younger audience. I love that he immediately sets the mood that these are meant to be enjoyed and that being scared can be fun! He also cites where the stories come from.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kate Foran

    Out of all the collections of spooky folktales by Alvin Schwartz—this one is probably the silliest and least spooky. Very fun for new readers, but not as good as In a Dark Dark Room.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ericka

    This was a really cute ghost story book for young kids. I remember reading it as a child. I really enjoyed a lot of the lines in the book. I'm glad I decided to re-read it. This was a really cute ghost story book for young kids. I remember reading it as a child. I really enjoyed a lot of the lines in the book. I'm glad I decided to re-read it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    GHOST GHOST GHOST

  11. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Bozarth

    This book is very dated and the pictures were scarier than the stories. I probably wouldn't recommend this book to any one. This book is very dated and the pictures were scarier than the stories. I probably wouldn't recommend this book to any one.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Angel Bix

    My nephew chose this book because he likes ghost stories that aren’t too scary. We read this together. He enjoyed it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Leigha

    Child me: 5 stars Adult me: 4 stars *For the first book in a "child/teen/middlegrade/nostalgic" book, I am going with the rating younger me would have gone with, then if I read on in the series, I will rate the books what adult me believes it should be rated. If the book is a stand alone, I will go with whatever rating I feel most comfortable giving the book. Please note, I do not really think books should have an age limit. People should read what they want to regardless of the intended age group Child me: 5 stars Adult me: 4 stars *For the first book in a "child/teen/middlegrade/nostalgic" book, I am going with the rating younger me would have gone with, then if I read on in the series, I will rate the books what adult me believes it should be rated. If the book is a stand alone, I will go with whatever rating I feel most comfortable giving the book. Please note, I do not really think books should have an age limit. People should read what they want to regardless of the intended age group, except for kids reading erotica or something, of course.* -- This is an "I can read" book, but who cares! I found it really cute and can see it being a little spooky for some children. It also has interesting artwork by Victoria Chess. There is a story in this about a ribbon that I can remember vividly from first reading it in my childhood. I could have swore that story was in the "Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark" book, but nope! I really loved 98% of these stories. "Crisscross, double-cross, Ghost, get lost!"

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dolly

    This is an entertaining collection of not-too-scary ghost stories for beginning readers. The stories and poems are short and the illustrations really help to add some humor to the tales. We've read a lot of books by Alvin Schwartz and our girls love them. This was probably their least favorite, simply due to the early-reader nature of the book (they thought it was too babyish). Still, we thought the stories were fun to read aloud and a few of them were familiar to us. The stories aren't specific This is an entertaining collection of not-too-scary ghost stories for beginning readers. The stories and poems are short and the illustrations really help to add some humor to the tales. We've read a lot of books by Alvin Schwartz and our girls love them. This was probably their least favorite, simply due to the early-reader nature of the book (they thought it was too babyish). Still, we thought the stories were fun to read aloud and a few of them were familiar to us. The stories aren't specifically about Halloween, but it's a great time of year to read the book. We enjoyed reading these tales together. I also liked the author's note that explains the derivation of the tales.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ayano Noguchi

    Harper Trophy, by Alvin Schwartz Time: 11/12=30min 7-word-summary: house-cat-Kate-bottle-umbrella-grave-teeth Discussion question: Q1: Do you believe in ghosts? Why? or why not? A1: No, I don't. I can't believe it because I have never seen them. However, my friend said he saw a ghost at night. I don't still believe. Q2: Have you ever put something into the bottle and thrown it into the river or ocean? A2: I have never done that. However, it is very romantic, isn't it? I want to do that even now! Harper Trophy, by Alvin Schwartz Time: 11/12=30min 7-word-summary: house-cat-Kate-bottle-umbrella-grave-teeth Discussion question: Q1: Do you believe in ghosts? Why? or why not? A1: No, I don't. I can't believe it because I have never seen them. However, my friend said he saw a ghost at night. I don't still believe. Q2: Have you ever put something into the bottle and thrown it into the river or ocean? A2: I have never done that. However, it is very romantic, isn't it? I want to do that even now!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    We have read a couple easy readers that contained short ghost/paranormal stories and enjoyed them. However, in this book, I did not appreciate the inclusion of a story where a school child dies and returns as a ghost to bully the living.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Riegs

    I just rediscovered this book, which I'm pretty sure I read cover-to-cover on a regular basis in elementary school. I could remember entire blocks of text! Victoria Chess' illustrations are so weirdly off-putting but fun at the same time. I just rediscovered this book, which I'm pretty sure I read cover-to-cover on a regular basis in elementary school. I could remember entire blocks of text! Victoria Chess' illustrations are so weirdly off-putting but fun at the same time.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Amelia

    Borrowed from the Kigali Public Library - High expectations for this one given how much we love "In a Dark Dark Room" by the same author; this one is just not *quite* in the same league but follows the same, much enjoyed, format of slightly spooky short stories with simple language. Borrowed from the Kigali Public Library - High expectations for this one given how much we love "In a Dark Dark Room" by the same author; this one is just not *quite* in the same league but follows the same, much enjoyed, format of slightly spooky short stories with simple language.

  19. 5 out of 5

    ABC

    This is a good book, but there is one part where a school bully gets sick and dies (and then turns into a ghost.) I thought that was a little too much for a book which is written for young children.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Duke2026

    I thought that a real persons hand came throw me!(ivette)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Love his story telling !

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Two of the best in children's chilliterature in writing and illustration. Together. Has the world imploded yet? Two of the best in children's chilliterature in writing and illustration. Together. Has the world imploded yet?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    2012 Top 10 most challenged books list! Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories Series for being unsuitable for the age group and violence. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/2012-top-... 2012 Top 10 most challenged books list! Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories Series for being unsuitable for the age group and violence. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/2012-top-...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cinthia

    2012 Top 10 most challenged books list! Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories Series for being unsuitable for the age group and violence. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/2012-top-... 2012 Top 10 most challenged books list! Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories Series for being unsuitable for the age group and violence. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/2012-top-...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Harris

    AR Quiz No. 44199 EN Fiction Accelerated Reader Quiz Information IL: LG - BL: 2.7 - AR Pts: 0.5 Accelerated Reader Quiz Type Information AR Quiz Types: RP, RV

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    not too scary but not too entertaining either.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    I prefer In A Dark, Dark, Room, but this one was pretty good, too.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karen Osuji

    funny ghost stories to make the book less scary.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Devan Lawhorn

    This book was scary and funny and i read this book many times before.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This easy reader consisting of seven ghost stories is spot-on for beginning readers. I can just imagine the reader sharing these stories with friends, continuing the urban legend tradition.

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