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“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” Illustrations to be Changed

02.11.2012

Scary Stories to Tell in the DarkThanks to a poor decision made by some clueless HarperCollins publishing exec, the horrifying artwork in the children’s book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark will be altered, three decades after the book’s original publication.

The short story collection, written by Alvin Schwartz, is a classic children’s book that is undoubtedly remembered by nearly anyone who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s. Though the stories are quite scary for a kids’ book (“The Red Spot” still freaks me out), it was the illustrations by Stephen Gammell that were what gave us nightmares that would last throughout our childhoods. And by association, it made the stories that much better.

The Scary Stories trilogy would become one of the most contested children’s book series of all-time (conservative parents’ groups repeatedly tried to have the series yanked from library shelves), due mainly to the illustrations. Unfortunately, after three decades of withstanding the pressure, HarperCollins caved. The new illustrations are by Brett Helquist, and appeal to a younger demographic. However, as stated on the i09 blog, “if your child couldn’t handle Gammell’s paintings, they’re certainly not going to be able to stomach a short story about a scarecrow who skins a farmer alive and dries out his skin sack trophy on the roof.”

Below are comparisons of the artwork, new vs. old:

The Red Spot

The Red Spot

Harold

Harold

Oh, Susannah!

Oh, Susannah!

The Haunted House

The Haunted House

More of Gammell’s classic illustrations to be replaced:

 

Me Tie Dough-ty Walker

Me Tie Dough-ty Walker

The Bride

The Bride

Sam's New Pet

Sam’s New Pet

Wonderful Sausage!

Wonderful Sausage!

(via io9, Adventures in Poor Taste)

Other Stories
  • heather

    lame! that’s half of what freaked me out about the book when i was a wee lass.

  • Jay tee

    BastArds ruined these books!! Leave a classic alone!!!