Monday, November 16, 2009

Stephen Gammell: He started it all...

When I was about six-years-old, I remember when my brother (who was nine at the time) brought home the book "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" and the moment I saw the illustration on the cover of the book, I was curious. I had never seen a drawing like that before, mainly because I was used to the cutesy style that most children's books are in. I remember constantly looking at the cover of it when my brother read it, and when he'd put the book down I would still stare at it. I asked him about the book and he told me that it was pretty scary, the cover made sense.

It wasn't until I was about nine when I went into our school library and saw the book again. This time I had more guts and decided to check it out (rare for me, I hardly ever read books by choice). When I opened the book, I saw that there were more creepy illustrations, many more. The creepy style that illustrator Stephen Gammell portrays so well motivated me to want to read every tale. Of course when I did, I fell in love with the scary stories told by Alvin Schwartz. This was the first time I was really exposed to scary stories, and the first time I fell in love with them. Also the first time I had seen artwork so different, so inspiring.
Pretty soon the other kids in my grade had discovered the book and the two others in the series, "More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark," and "Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones." I woke up many times with terrifying nightmares because of the drawings, but never quit reading the series. I would check them out over and over again. Kids at school would trade them around too, there was always a good ghost story to talk about.
Every now and then I open one of them up to look at the brilliant sketches and to read a few of the tales... very nostalgic.


  1. I know!! I bought the book because of the illustrations!! The White Wolf was my favorite picture in there. But the "Slithery Dee" was one of my favorite stories.

  2. Yeah, those stories and pictures just never leave you. I used to be terrified of the picture for the story "Harold"- that totally creeped me out!

  3. Well I agree!
    I love those books!

  4. i love the slithery dee too! the ghost girl, the one interviewed by the priest in the first book, she always scared me sooo bad.