What kid doesn't like getting the stuffing scared out of them once in a while? If you have fond memories of reading Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark (but also, generally, regretting your decision once it was time to turn out the lights), then you'll want to find an illustrated bone-chilling addition to your kid's bookshelf; and Scary Stories For Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker is it! Be warned: this book is not for the faint of heart! There is a sense of dread that follows the two fox kits who for various (terrifying) reasons are alone in the forest, just hoping to survive.
This book is layered with all kinds of horrors. The first story starts on a bright day and with a family of fox kits going to meet their teacher. Except when they get to their usual learning spot, there is something seriously, creepily wrong with their teacher. It reads like a zombie story, but it's rooted in nature. Readers will start to recognize the signs of rabies. It's chilling, that these stories really can occur and would likely be terrifying for young foxes. Furthermore, there's the terrifying fox Mr. Scratch, a menacing human with nefarious intentions, and a bottom-dwelling pond lurker, the Golgathursh.
Want to get a feel for the tone of the book? This chilling trailer gives a preview to the stories held within this book.
Author Heidicker tells Romper via email the reason he set out to write such a creepy book: "I have yet to meet a kid who doesn't love spooky stories, even if it's one of the toothless ones. I gobbled them up myself. I started withThe Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree and In a Dark, Dark Room and then worked my way up to Something Wicked This Way Comes and eventually Stephen King. I tested the boundaries of my fear and almost always regretted it."
And who hasn't experienced loving a story and feeling brave...until the lights go out and the imagination fires up? Heidicker hopes that it won't leave young readers too terrified, though. "I can only hope that Scary Stories for Young Foxes strikes a balance of cozy horror, giving kids a chill but leaving them content enough to fall asleep after the final page."
And, indeed, if your kid muscles through all the creepiness, this book has a reassuring and almost gentle ending. But don't be surprised if your own kit wants to snuggle in a cozy den with you for the evening.
If you plan on reading these stories aloud to your kits, you might pace yourself from August to October, and wrap them up just in time for Halloween. Plus, scary stories are bound to get lots of attention this summer after Guillermo del Toro's movie adaption of Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark hits theaters.
Scary Stories For Young Foxes is arriving in bookstores on July 30, just in time for some primo late summer fireside storytelling.