Scary Fantasies

Shivers, Scares, and Goosebumps by Vonnie Winslow-Crist

This is such a wonderful book, perfect for its preteen readers who won’t be able to put it down once they start reading it!

Shivers, Scares, and Goosebumps includes stories, poems, and drawings. Vonnie Winslow-Crist is an amazing artist and brilliant writer!

These unforgettable works (whether stories, poems, or drawings) are scary, but they are scary fantasies, often with a new take on fairy tales and folk tales. The horror fantasies don’t describe the scary reality that so many children can neither avoid nor influence (i.e. the evening news information about what is going on in the real world). Instead, this book is a welcome escape into a frightening, but completely imaginary world.

What to look forward to when you read this book, in addition to the masterful writing style that will keep you reading and sorry when the book ends far too soon:

A drawing of amphibians with teeth.

The story: A ravenous mudpuppy and its equally gluttonous offspring devour a clueless, well-intentioned little girl who only wanted to help.

A drawing of a goblin with elongated fingers who peeks out from under something.

The story: When a little boy neglects cleaning his room, the goblin residing in the mess under his bed takes him to the cold, dark, smelly basement where he is devoured by the goblin family that lives there.

A sketch of a cross-eyed canine in front of the moon.

The poem: A poem reflects on stages of the moon from the perspective of the wolf.

A drawing of watchful dogs, all with blank, dead eyes.

The story: Undead dogs rise from their graves and kill people who deserve to die, like the one who killed a kind man who took care of dogs.

A drawing of a giant toad emerging from the water.

The story: Ignoring their aunt’s warnings, a brother and sister venture too close to the ocean where the boy is pulled under the waves by the evil undertoad.

A drawing of a teenage girl in front of a bakery window.

The story: The ghost of girl just killed in a traffic accident visits her cousin, who is working in her mother’s bakery, in order to say good-bye.

A drawing of the head of an antlered deer with the rest of his skeleton bones hung on a wall.

The story: At a family reunion a so-called great hunter shows off the trophy heads of animals he has killed, all decorating the walls of his cottage. On Midsummer’s Eve the heads come alive and reunite with their bodies. The next morning the head of the hunter hangs on the wall.

A drawing of a black ghost and a vampire bat in a cemetery.

The poem: In a touching poem a vampire bat with black wings looks for a window he can enter.

A drawing of a man with a scary face stands behind a fence of twigs. In the background, children seem to be frozen in motion.

The story: Around Easter in Helsinki children bring twigs to houses, knock on doors, and ask for candy. Behind the door of one home, they see statues of children. One girl enters the house and the other runs away, followed by the man from the house who touches her shoulder and turns her to stone.

A drawing of birds with long beaks and happy eyes.

The story: A boy feeds feral cats. Soon, there are no more other small animals who used to frequent the yard. Instead, vultures perch on the railing and steal the cats’ food. The boy then feels threatened by vultures who arrive when he is alone.

A drawing of a young person sitting on a stone block surrounded by bushes and a tree.

The Story: A girl talks to her uncle at the cemetery even though he has been dead for twenty years, but she sees him.

A drawing of a scary doll in front of a fairy.

The Story: The tooth fairy brings a doll to life who rats on a girl’s little brother because he has stolen the girl’s tooth money from under her pillow. The tooth fairy then takes her pliers and extracts two teeth from the little boy even though he is wide awake but paralyzed and mute from the fairy’s spell.

A drawing of a man wearing a threadbare shirt and bib overalls, holding a shovel and a trowel.

A woman with little money stops at a tidy, white farmhouse in the hopes of buying some flowers for her mother. The farmer gives her four azalea plants for free. Upon leaving she sees that the farm has long since been abandoned with the buildings now in disrepair. But four holes in the ground are where the azaleas had been.

A drawing of a woman wrapped in a robe with a hood in front of ghosts.

The Story: A boy walks past a cemetery late at night, smells corpses and decay. He sees Kalma, the Goddess of Death and Decay. She and other ghosts rise from their graves.

A drawing of scary, alien figures and a happy little dog.

The Story: A girl babysits for three little boys and their rambunctious dog. Aliens burst into the house. The girl flees with the boys and dog into a bedroom, locks the door, and calls the police while she wonders what will burst through the bedroom door.

A drawing of a scarecrow standing in a field with mice scampering at his feet.

The Story: Walking past her grandparents’ cornfield, a girl feels uneasy, although she only sees mice and owls. A scarecrow climbs down off his post, grabs the girl and forces her to dance with him. Her grandparents find her the next morning next to the scarecrow’s post with holes worn in the soles of her shoes and her lap full of mice. No scarecrow is to be seen, but the corn leaves whisper for her to come and dance.

A drawing of pumpkins with eyes, unhappy expressions on their faces, and long, clawed fingers.

The Story: A girl doesn’t like watching her father and sister carve the jack-o-lantern. She feels for and with the pumpkin. She leaves. The next morning her father and sister are found strangled with pumpkin vines.

A drawing of the head of Frankenstein’s monster.

The Poem: A poem describes Frankenstein’s monster’s feelings of unrequited love.

A drawing of two hands with long fingernails that emerge from the soil.

The Story: A boy wants to scare his sister and her friends while they go trick or treating. He hides in an old cemetery along their path and gets pulled into a grave by rotting hands.

A drawing of two cats and a jack-o-lantern.

The Story: On Halloween boy sees a girl pet a stray, black cat with green eyes. He leaves, but when he returns, the girl is missing and two black cats with green eyes look at him, the smaller one mews for help, visibly unhappy and desperate.

A drawing of a multi-layered fountain with snakes wrapped around the poles, surrounded by brambles.

The Story: Two girls take a forbidden shortcut through the woods, go behind a stone wall and see a fountain surrounded by rose bushes. The woman there says they have to drink from the fountain while snakes slither over their hands. Back at home, they see snake birthmarks on their arms, rose bushes around the house face them, and a snake-like voice hisses that it will see them soon.

A drawing of two spooky, boney hands in front of a church.

The Story: Two children enter an abandoned church and discover corpses. An animated corpse growls. They run, and a corpse zombie follows them. One of the children stumbles.

A drawing of a nature spirit surrounded by little wrens.

The Story: A boy refuses to kill a wren so that three brothers can parade it through town and beg for money, supposedly to bury it. Later the three brothers are found dead in the woods.

A drawing of an old woman in front of a tree with mittens hanging from its branches.

The Story: A witch, trying to do without witchcraft, is annoyed by inconsiderate, unkind neighbors. She knits mittens, each with one of her own hairs knitted into the strands. She gives the mittens to the neighbors and now has power over them and their surroundings.

A drawing of scary branches and trees in front of the moon.

The Story: A boy has to watch his younger sister and goes for a walk with her into the woods. Because there is a full moon, his grandmother, who believes in fairies and goblins, insists that they each take a nail in their pockets and watch out for the ogerhunches who look like dead trees, fallen branches, and piles of leaves. The ogerhunches pursue them when the girl loses her nail. The grandmother rescues them with a flaming torch which scares off the ogerhunches.

A drawing of a girl along the road.

The Poem: A poem describes a lonely ghost who seeks company. She causes an accident and death, after which she is no longer lonely.

A drawing of a bird with a long beak.

The Story: A girl is afraid of the night ravens that her grandfather told her about. The night ravens snatch children. Her father doesn’t believe this. When a night raven comes to her bedroom, she is kind and polite, and the night raven leaves her alone, saying that she is a good child, that they are now friends, and that he will visit her often. He sings her a lullaby to put her to sleep and then leaves to snatch bad children.


About maryjorabe

retired librarian, science fiction fan and writer
This entry was posted in book review, Buchrezension, Shivers, Scares, and Goosebumps, Stories, Vonnie Winslow-Crist and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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