Review of "If You Want to Scare Yourself"

9/1/1989 Issue of The Kirkus Reviews

"From the German author of My Friend, the Vampire (1984), five satisfiyingly spooky stories as told to (and, in the last case, by) Freddy, who is bored with being sick in bed.

Like campfire stories, these gain immediacy from being presented as experiences of the tellers: Mother describes the ghost child who recently showed her around an apartment for rent, and later recounts a childhood visit a family terrorized by a werewolf boy;

Dad reminisces about the vampire ghost who tutored him in math but almost ended his life; a ghostly waif begs Grandma for assistance before vanishing (Grandma´s rejection, though she later repents, is more chilling than the apparition). Freddy neatly ties the series togother with a pied-piper parallel that points up children´s need for their parents´attention - as well as their need to learn to amuse themselves.

Easily read stories whose mysterious atmosphere is wonderfully extended by Spiess´brooding, finely detailed b&w illustrations. Sure to appeal to devotees of the weird and mildly horrifying.

(Fiction/Yound reader. 7-11)

Sommer-Bodenburg, Angela, If You Want To Scare Yourself, Trans. by Renée Vera Cafiero, Illus. by Helga Spiess, Lippincott (106 pp)