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The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief & Sinister

Review

The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief & Sinister

 
THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES is an anthology of intriguing and delightfully scary middle grade horror short fiction. Each story is written by one of four “curators” of the mysterious Cabinet of Curiosities from the title, and they break up some of the stories with letters and explanations for how they “found” the story that follows, usually through some daring activity or another. The book is broken into various sections, called “drawers” or “rooms” where the stories will follow themes like “cake” or “flowers,” with my personal favorite section being “Room Three: Luck.” The stories in that “room” stick out to me as the creepiest and most original of the bunch, all centering around some concept of “luck,” but each with a wholly original variation on that theme.
 
The stories are short enough and creepy enough that they make perfect campfire tales, and are sure to disturb and delight your friends.
 
There are definitely some properly scary stories in the mix. A couple stories that I shouldn’t have read before bed, and a few that are still on my mind, giving me chills. As with any anthology, some are better than others. There were a few that were too predictable, not quite frightening enough or didn’t make sense. On the whole though, each story is wildly original and able to transport you to its world instantly. Some of my particular favorites were “Johnny Knockers,” the story of a young man rescued from the stomach of a whale with interesting consequences; “The Tin Man’s Price,” where a set of twins finds a tin can with a mysterious and magical man inside; “The Sandman Cometh,” a re-telling of a Hans Christian Anderson story; “Lucky, Lucky Girl,” all about a girl who gets whatever she wants at the expense of those around her; and “Generously Donated By,” about a boy in a very mysterious museum. But really every story is worth a read for anyone who likes to walk on the dark side.
 
This would be an excellent book to bring to a sleepover or camp. The stories are short enough and creepy enough that they make perfect campfire tales, and are sure to disturb and delight your friends. I enjoyed reading every one very much, and I hope to read much more from these four authors in the future.

Reviewed by Rebecca Czochor on July 7, 2014

The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief & Sinister
by Stefan Bachmann, Emma Trevayne, Claire Legrand, and Katherine Catmull

  • Publication Date: May 27, 2014
  • Genres: Horror
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books
  • ISBN-10: 0062331051
  • ISBN-13: 9780062331052