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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Fear is the Mind Killer

What To Do With a Scary Book

I think that’s the most wonderfully sensible treatment of a book that scares you I’ve ever heard of.Neil Gaiman, on a reader’s response to his Coraline.

Here’s the message, delivered to author Neil Gaiman through his Tumblr askbox, which prompted the aforementioned response:

I bought my niece Coraline as a gift. When I next saw her, I asked what she thought of it. She got about half-way through, then got so scared she wrapped it up in a blanket and put it in a shoe box. Then put the shobox in an empty toybox, then filled the toybox, locked it, and put it up in the attic. Which was then locked. Just thought I’d share that.

Makes perfect sense to me. I didn’t read The Phantom Tollbooth for years because I thought it was about a scary tollbooth.


  • Jaycee Grey

    And THAT’s the book they turn into a movie marketed to kids…

  • Nick Gaston

    I hope for that kid’s sake that Raccoons never sneak into that attic some stormy night and start scrapping with each other.

  • Anonymous

    Well, yeah. It was a book written for kids. Parts of it are spooky. So are parts of Toy Story, Beauty and the Beast, and All Dogs Go to Heaven which is one of the reasons I didn’t like them the first time I saw them, as a kid. Coraline is a book about a kid triumphing over monsters with the help of some allies but mostly her own cleverness. You can’t keep kids from getting scared by fiction with that kind of story, but you can teach them that whenever they’re scared, no matter how bad, they’re not powerless. 

  • Alaina Granter

    I approve of those actions.

  • Terence Ng

    I recall similarly throwing scary books under my bed frame where I wouldn’t have them “lingering” in open sight when I was a kid. I think one of the first ones was “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”. The illustrated cover and scary font didn’t help.

    Of course, as we all know, doing that only allows books to fester into monsters, resulting in monsters under the bed. The only correct solution is to keep them under a constant light source, like a desk lamp, where they will be contained and cannot hurt anyone.

  • Anonymous

    Also, Brave Little Toaster.  I was scared of the air conditioner in my living room up until we got rid of it, which was well past an acceptable age to still be scared of an air conditioner.

  • Vanna

    I was completely convinced that the pictures from my copy of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark were going to spring to life in the middle of the night and get me! 

  • Anonymous

     Oh man… that clown scene. Skipped it every time.

  • Christa

    I put my books ‘to sleep’ by placing them cover-down.  Scary or intense books go out in the living room while I sleep. :

  • Anonymous

    Wait… ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’ *isn’t* about a scary tollbooth?

  • Maureen Ramey

    No no no. You have to put it in the freezer in a protective gallon zip lock bag!