Uncanny!: Even More Surprising Stories

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9780140349092: Uncanny!: Even More Surprising Stories
From School Library Journal:

Gr 4-8-- Each of these nine short stories is narrated by a boy who has experienced a bizarre event. The protagonists lack real personality, however, as characterization takes a backseat to plot twists and unexpected endings, most of which will catch readers off guard. In some cases, a dull setup overshadows the payoff. Readers do finally see how a dog can fly in ``UFD,'' but the pages leading up to that discovery are uninvolving. Few of Jennings's descriptive details are wasted. When he opens ``Mousechap'' by mentioning a dung beetle, it should not be a surprise (but it is) to see it figure in the ending as a boy's Aunt Scrotch receives her just fate. Macabre humor and some pure grossness are sprinkled into most of the stories. One boy throws up 40 bowls of spaghetti . . . twice. Another squeezes inside a dead and rotting beached whale. The lack of substance and characterization will put off some children, but others (including many reluctant readers) will be grabbed by the humor, the weirdness, and the surprises. --Steven Engelfried, Pleasanton Lib .

Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Horror story fans are sure to be drawn to the titles and eerie jacket illustrations of these two volumes; however, those expecting the genre's traditional fare may be taken aback by the author's Monty Pythonesque sense of humor in scenes featuring mischievous specters, spattering dung and exploding bits of flesh. While some of the tales in Unreal! come off as gross jokes with clever punch lines, the second collection contains more intricate and intriguing yarns that recall Twilight Zone episodes. ``On the Bottom'' concerns a dying man's tattoos that come to life long enough to find a new resting place. ``Know All'' reveals the mishaps that occur when a family opens an old trunk of magical circus costumes. The strength of Jennings's writing lies in original precepts and unexpected plot twists. For the most part, characterizations remain one-dimensional and somewhat sexist (only one of the 17 stories has a female protagonist). Ultimately, these books provide light, fast-paced entertainment sure to satisfy appetites for the grotesque. Ages 10-up.

Copyright 1991 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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