Publishers Weekly Reviews First Book in SCARY TALES Series: “Home Sweet Horror”

“Gasp-worthy scenes and chilling twists.”

It’s a long slog, this business of getting published, with many milestones along the way. The concept, the contract, the first draft, the editor’s notes, the first glimpse at the artwork, revision, and more revision, the advance reader’s copy, and so on. It takes a while, the result of contributions from many good people.

Before there’s even a finished book, comes the first review.

Uh-oh.

Well, I guess there’s no turning back now.

May 20, 2013, issue of Publishers Weekly.
Home Sweet Horror
James Preller, illus. by Iacopo Bruno. Feiwel and Friends, $14.99 (112p) ISBN 978-1-250-01887-8
Preller (the Jigsaw Jones mysteries) serves up gasp-worthy scenes and chilling twists in this illustrated chapter book that launches the Scary Tales series. Suspense builds gradually: when eight-year-old Liam, his widowed father, and older sister, Kelly, arrive at their ominous-looking new home, he sees a flicker of light from an upstairs window; the next morning, he hears floorboards groaning, radiators hissing, and someone moaning. Preller raises the stakes as Liam, investigating a clanging noise in the basement, falls through a stair and feels “a thin, skeletal grip” on his dangling leg; later, Kelly and a friend attempt to summon Bloody Mary—a bit too successfully. Sound effects reproduced in large type amplify Liam’s fear, and Bruno’s heavily inked, etching-like pictures intensify the story’s spookiness. In contrast to the scary bits, Preller also gives the story a tender emotional undercurrent: the family is still aching from the death of the siblings’ mother, who may still be looking out for her family. Just enough chills to keep burgeoning readers flipping pages. I Scream, You Scream pubs simultaneously. Ages 7–10. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (July)
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4 comments

  1. Jean Feiwel says:

    Here we go, Jimmy! Looking forward to a long and happy ride for Scary Tales! Jean

  2. Jimmy says:

    Thanks, Jean.

  3. Dawn Vieira says:

    Met you at ALA and you were so friendly and down-to-earth. Just finished the books and LOVE them! I can’t wait for school to start again so I can share these with my students. Well done!

  4. jimmy says:

    Dawn, you should rally the troops and bring me back out to Chicago for some school visits.

    Thanks for the kind words.

    That should be on my tombstone some day, “DOWN TO EARTH.”

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