A few nights ago I was up late with insomnia and I watched three episodes of "Reading Rainbow". They have this portion of the show where children recommend books that they like and this one kid had a book called "Song and Dance Man". The illustrations for the book immediatly struck a chord in my memory and came across as being rather creepy. It took me a moment to figure it out but soon I realized it was the same illustrator who did the "Scary Stories" series of books that I read as a child in the 80's. I looked them up online the next morning and found I was correct. The drawings in the book were done by Stephen Gammel. There were three books in the series.
* Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark * More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark * Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones All three are written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammel
I knew that I at least owned one of them because I usually read a couple stories to the children at our Halloween party each year. After looking through my books downstairs I found that I own the first and third one.
A quick search on the internet popped up quite a few blogs that mentioned the effect the artwork had on children of the 80's and how certain images still stuck with them even till this day. The stories were scary on their own but the drawings definately solidify them in your mind.
I also remember that they were very popular in my elementry school library and almost always checked out. For a period of time they were removed from the library almost as if they were banned for a short time.
I checked into this and found something interesting. One of the websites I visited had a link to the A.L.A. (American Library Association) Top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books. This is a list of books that over time have been removed from certain libraries as "questionable".
Want to know which book was #1 on the list? Here it is.
ALA TOP 100 MOST FREQUENTLY CHALLENGED BOOKS
1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz 2. Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite 3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou 4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier 5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain 6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck 7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling 8. Forever by Judy Blume 9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson 10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman 12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier 13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger 14. The Giver by Lois Lowry 15. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris 16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine 17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck 18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker 19. Sex by Madonna 20. Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel 21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson 22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle 23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous 24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers 25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak