Dear Mr. Alvin Schwartz,
Just a few days ago, my nephew went through my strewn collection of paperbacks and picked up one of your books, Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones. For a while, he was flipping through the pages, which arrested his attention more than the movie we were watching. After they left, I picked up the same book.
It’s been a years since I last read my only copy of any of your books. And why did I?
When I was still in college, one of the classes I took was Children’s Literature. Of course, the usual fare for discussion were mostly rhymes, lullabies, riddles, limericks, and fairy tales—literature meant to induce stupor and fantasy in children. Even then, I believed that Never Land has more than one shadow and that Wonderland has a crypt where they pile headless corpses. While I am no stranger to children’s horror stories like Goosebumps, I’ve never seen them collected. So when I discovered your anthology then, I just had to read it for myself.
Although I am not the intended reader, I still found your last collection a deliciously dark delight. While I relished most, the singular standout was “Harold”. I’ve read retellings of the original story but none of them were as nightmarish. I found myself arguing, even shouting in my head at the two cowboys and their last decision together.
One roommate finished your book with just the light of the lonely corridor. I guess, with all lights out in all the rooms in the hall, reading your book then gave the perfect ambience, like the situation was conducive to terrors coming alive. The illustrations of Stephen Gammell are grotesque, frightful, and almost remarkably unforgettable.
Thank you so much for collecting stories for Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones and frightening people with your creations.