I’ve been scaring, confounding, disgusting and delighting my 4th and 5th graders (and some older kids, even high schoolers) with the short short stories (we timed them — the way I read, many of them are more than half-a-minute long but seldom more than 2.5 minutes long) crammed into this slim volume for several weeks now. It’s not Halloween Season, but we all still welcome a spine-chilling experience in the Library’s Reading Room. We love M.T. Anderson’s EWWWWWW-inducing “An Easy Gig” where an innocent baby-sitting job turned menacingly tragic and we collectively are repulsed by Dean Lorey’s “Hank” where a beloved pet turns out to be.. um… not so endearing at all. Sarah Weeks isn’t all that sweet penning “One of a Kind” and Jack Gantos’ half-page “Up to My Elbow” makes us think twice and come to the “OMG” revelation on our own. With 72 stories in words and pictures, this proves to be the “best buy” of the school year for my library.
My students and I owe so many hours (minutes?) of reading and sharing pleasure to this cleverly conceived and brilliantly executed volume and HarperCollins and Susan Rich for putting the book together.