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Passion and Poison: Tales of Shape-Shifters, Ghosts, and Spirited Women
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Passion and Poison: Tales of Shape-Shifters, Ghosts, and Spirited Women

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  77 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Janice M. Del Negro’s unique storyteller’s voice enlivens this collection of eight original tales about strong, resolute females.
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by Skyscape (first published August 2007)
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Jan 31, 2008 Donna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: storytellers, kids who like supernatural and ghost stories
I took a storytelling class taught by Janice Del Negro at Dominican University and loved it, so when I saw a review for this book I, of course, wanted to read it! There are eight stories in the collection, all centered around strong female characters. Each story is based on or inspired by a folktale or folk motif, and written in a way to make them easy to tell aloud. Janice told one of the tales, "Rubies," in class, and it is my favorite in this collection.
I had Janice for several classes at Dominican University, including storytelling. As a collection of stories to be read aloud or told, they are fabulous. And they are meant to be heard, not just read. The second story, Rosie Hopewell, was my favorite. So much so, that I got permission from Janice to tell it, and I am adding it to repertoire of stories that I tell. This is a wonderful resource for storytellers and anyone who enjoys reading books aloud.
Stacey B.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: I thought this book was going to be really terrifying, but it was not super scary. The book states that it is for ages 10 and up, so it's more of a middle grade than a young adult book. This was a very quick book to read through, and I was thoroughly entertained. The stories are quick and slightly spooky. I really enjoyed the illustrations that are scattered throughout the book, they helped to set the mood. My favorite story in the collection is Sea Child and I also really en ...more
This short collection collection of short spooky tales contains both new and retold stories. I was glad to find a note at the end admitting the borrowings, but it still seemed a bit strange to me to mix folk tales with originals, especially as most of altered elements are the weaker ones. Her retelling of the English story "Mr. Fox," is pretty much a shorter, less detailed version of the original. She doesn't add anything stylistically and removes some plot elements -- what's the point?
Dec 29, 2007 Nick rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in short, scary stories
This book is a mixture of traditional and original tales, crafted by a performing storyteller who is also a talented writer. Of the seven tales, one is based on an English folk tale, collected more than a century ago by Jacobs, and another on a traditional ballad. The others are based more on motifs than single sources, but all share a theme involving women who are more than simple or dead, they are feisty and strong.
Source: Received a copy from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.

Lately I've been really into short stories so I was excited to see this available for review. I like how there is a woman on the cover as well as mentioned in the subtitle. This is a collection of seven stories with various horror themes, intended by the author to be read aloud as I discovered when I read the author's note at the end. I only had myself so I read silently but I wonder how a crowd would respond to them espec
I picked up this book because I was in the mood for some scary and haunting tales. Well I have to say while the stories were not that scary. My definition of scary is something that gives you chills, makes you look over your shoulder a few times, and even having you tuck your blanket up to your chin when you go to bed. A book or story does not have to have all three criteria’s to make me happy but if it does than it is a keeper.

So this is one of the reasons I could not give this book five stars
These stories are meant to be read aloud. That makes sense. They are definitely best when carried on the voice. As I read them, I could hear the storyteller's voice clearly -- like conversation, sometimes with a friend, sometimes with a stranger. If you're looking for horror, grisly deaths, macabre details --- this collection of a handful of folklore-based tales isn't it. The stories are shivery, spooky, mournful, satisfying.
Rebecca Ann
Jan 31, 2013 Rebecca Ann rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Storytellers
This collection is full of excellent, scary stories for storytellers. I particularly liked the strong female protagonist in each of the tales. The only story I recognized was "the Severed Hand" based on "Mr. Fox", which I read recently in English Fairy Tales. These stories feel richer than some of the original tales they were based on or drawn from, because they are set in a slightly more modern time and the names match the periods. They also have brilliant visuals and awesome illustrations that ...more
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
I really enjoyed the tone of the author but found the seven familiar (or with familiar motifs) tales in this slim volume not scary or eerie enough. There exists always a promising build-up but the readers are left short of truly gruesome, horrific, or surprising endings. The cover design is quite effective, with raised blood-red title print, but the interior illustrations are uneven and less than accomplished in many cases. The very good cover art is done by Vincent Natale, but the illustration ...more
Super fun read! Think Scary Stories You Tell in the Dark but all female. I laughed and love I scored this for 50cents!
I feel like 2 stars is generous for a book of this calibre, but it deserves an "it was okay" for being exactly what I expected.
The writing was no better and no worse than other YA ghost story books (like Stories to Tell in the Dark") although the author's occasional "Creative Writing 101" stylistic additions were obnoxious.
I actually enjoyed it more when I read the afterward and learned the author was intentionally focusing on creating vivid female characters out of supernatural folklore stori
A nice, small collection of seven short stories about women and girls of conviction and substance, but let’s not forget the ghosts either! Tales are “The bargain,” “Rosie Hopewell,” “Skulls and Bones, Ghosts, and Gold,” “The Severed Hand,” “Rubies,” “Sea Child,” and “Hide and Seek.” Good for read-alouds, these gothic tales, some original and some retold, are eerie and pull the reader right in because you must find out what happened. I especially liked the female characters who are strong and res ...more
Super spooky and would be great for a read aloud with older children.
Perfect to curl up with on a dark and stormy night, Passion and Poison also works well as a read-aloud and storytelling source thanks in part to the well-turned phrases. Del Negro includes notes on each story at the end of the book. I recently read "Hide and Seek" aloud at a scary stories event for 4th-8th graders and found it to be effectively creepy. The black, white, and red illustrations add to the spooky tone of the book.
These seven (very) short stories, reminiscent of folk tales, aren't particularly scary, but are certainly imbued with an aura of gothic creepiness. Probably the best part about this book is the strong female protagonists who determinedly face challenges both human and ghostly. The straightforward, folksy prose would make this a wonderful book to read aloud.
Nov 27, 2007 Rebecca rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 5th grade and up
I was hoping this would be good to recommend to scary-stories fans, but Vivian Vande Velde's All Hallow's Eve leaves it far, far in the dust. The pencil illustrations are bit odd, and I find the one on p. 19 to be creepy for all the wrong reasons. These might be interesting to try aloud or as storytelling with older kids, though.
Maria Al3isa
Whats the point of this book!
Collection of short stories that are enjoyable in their simplicity.

My favorite was the first one, "The Bargain", because it really had that Americana ghost/folk story vibe down pat, but each story had something to offer.

Really liked Vince Natale's artwork as well.
Interesting little book of spooky stories - most are adaptations of traditional stories or ballads. I found this the young adult section of the library, and I think we have it in the children's section as well, but it is really an all-ages type of book.
Catherine Yezak
It is an interesting little read. A lot of short ghost stories that are based on folklore or myths from the past with a twist. It is great for those who aren't big readers but would like to give themselves a shiver every now and then.
Lynne Lowe
I found this book in the young adult section at the public library. Since it was on the Halloween table, I decided to take a chance and read it. Some of the stories were pretty scary! It's a quick and fun read.
Slim but well-written volume of ghost stories. Each is only a few pages and is narrated in authentic voices, making this super-accessible for reluctant readers. Enjoyable, strong female leads in each story.
Seven creepy, super-natural stories that defy logic and reason, retold from traditional folklore. They are scary without being blatant and unnerving without being haunting. Storytelling at its best.
Ghost stories with strong women as the central characters of each. Each story is short, only a few pages long, and good for readers who don’t like long books. Late of 4th grade and up.
While reading these short stories I had no idea that they were based loosely on many folklores from around the world. This gave me a new perspective to these quirky stories.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This short collection of supernatural tales is perfect for reading aloud. I particularly liked "Sea Child," which was very eerie. I just wish the book had been longer!
Ryan Zimmerman Carstairs
Cute; and a very easy read. Some of the stories didn’t seem to fit the motif and thus left me a bit confused – but that isn’t always a bad thing.
A collection of just-spooky-enough stories for storytelling or to read aloud - Janice's voice comes through loud and clear.
This was a really cute book w/various ghost stoies. If you're into ghosts, this is a read. It is a YA book.
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