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The Devil's Storybook
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The Devil's Storybook

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  349 ratings  ·  58 reviews
The Devil's Storybook is a 1974 New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year and a 1975 National Book Award Finalist for Children's Books.An ALA Notable Book

Chosen by School Library Journal as one of the Best of the Best Books...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published December 1st 1984 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published 1974)
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NPR did a recent feature on children’s literature which piqued my interest because I wasn’t aware children read anymore. I listened as a children’s book author reviewed her favorite books from childhood and reveled in her choices, which included The Boxcar Children series (which I read over a summer in grade school; probably between 2nd and 3rd grade) and Roald Dahl’s entire catalog of work. I realized that what this children’s author and I had in common was that as kids we clearly both valued b...more
Feb 22, 2011 Caroline rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Children's storytellers who want something unique
Shelves: children, fairytales
I found this discarded library book at a garage sale and I'm so glad I picked it up. It's a truly unique book of tales featuring the Devil in various adventures and plots to pull one over on someone else. Sometimes he succeeds, sometimes he fails. Another reviewer said that it's usually the character with the least common sense that loses in the end, and I agree with this. Sometimes he's the sensible one who's stuck with incompetent minions (and I end up feeling bad for him!)

This book is unique...more
I spent two weeks reading all of Natalie Babbit's books. I am better for it, and this was a stand out even among such exceptional works. To quote Jean Stafford's review: "The Devil is not dire; he is a scheming practical joker and comes to earth often when he is restless, to play tricks on clergymen, goodwives, poets, and pretty girls." A books for bright children (why not?) and their parents to share. I would say this book is like I.B. Singer for young readers, but he wrote wonderful books for...more
Entertaining, light read. Each of the ten stories revolve around the Devil himself in some way or other.


The Very Pretty Lady
The Harps of Heaven
The Imp in the Basket*
A Palindrome***
The Rose and the Minor Demon
The Power of Speech

*This was my favorite story of the bunch. I loved the ambiguity of it all.

**A close second for favorite story. The ending clinched it as a standout

***This one sticks with me as well. Even when the Devil doesn't get his way, we can sti...more
A short collection of young adult stories about the dealings of the Devil in and out of Hell and the poor ones he tries to torture or just decides to make their lives a living hell. This is a book written with great humor and irony. If only the Devil would learn from his own mistakes! ;)

Clever and well written. Same author as Tuck Everlasting.
Too clever - and not just for Babbitt completists. Short, too - and really, for all ages.
Something made me remember this book that I read so long ago when I was perhaps 9... I remember the librarian at the local branch recommending it to me, with no parents around ( I am sure I rode my bike there myself), and I just laughed out loud at how ridiculously impossible this scenario might be these days...not only because of the Title, but also for a 9 year old biking anywhere by herself, and talking to a stranger...OMDog, does this date me, or what? I didn't even know who "the Devil" was,...more
The Devil's Storybook is a book of short stories featuring the devil being. . . . Well, devilish. He starts to make someone's day miserable, but ends up failing the first few tries. He takes a goat that he has wanted for ever so long, but ends up giving it back and there are many other tales.

This is the second book I've read by Natalie Babbitt. The first being Tuck Everlasting. I read that a few summers ago and it became one of my all time favorites. I decided to try another book by Natalie Babb...more
Heather Colacurcio
Natalie Babbitt is one of the great Children's authors, and she succeeds once again in this gem of a book. When the Devil gets bored in Hell, he comes to the World to play around with humans. In ten short-stories, each of them darkly humorous, the Devil is up to no good. Some stories prove the sheer stupidity and selfish nature of humanity ("Wishes", "Ashes", "The Harps of Heaven"), others portray the good-natured, big-hearted spirit of the pious ("The Imp in the Basket", "The Power of Speech)....more
Jan 09, 2008 Lisa rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fairy-tale buffs
My computer flipped out on a Sunday, and I had to wait 'til the next day to get it fixed. I couldn't manage a day without my computer, so I went to the library. I had a long wait for a computer, so I went to look for Newbery books. As is always the case at the Multnomah County Library, what I really wanted was checked out. So I ended up with a lot of books that weren't Newbery award winners/honorees, but were written by authors that had won or been honored.

That's the long version of how I ended...more
This is just so charming and silly and gentle. Has the clever, slightly acerbic and definitely whimsical style of folklore. I keep it by my bedside and read stories before bed. Perfect.
Lisa Scott
I came across this odd little collection of tales because my school has a Literature Circle set of it in its bookroom. The book's Devil is a trickster figure who meddles on Earth when he gets bored. My favorite story is "The Imp in the Basket," which I read to my sixth graders to teach them about short story elements but which wound up sparking a debate on the nature of good and evil. I just read that the book was challenged by parents of students in New Jersey and Pennsylvania because of its "o...more
Juvenile, but beguiling stories that trace the devil's interference with mortals. A gem!
My first five-star review, and it's a Natalie Babbitt book (who I've mentioned I worry I don't appreciate as much as I should). These stories are utterly charming, and I loved how the Devil was portrayed, as someone who can be complacent at times, and pushy at others, and as someone who on occasion misreads the situation he's in. It certainly gives kids reading it grounds to see the adults in their lives in the same light (don't hate on me for that, anti-Devil people). My favorite story in the b...more
Some of the best stories are the very weird ones.
Maureen Milton
This book of thought-provoking stories, published in 1974, is a gem. Each pithy tale of the Devil, slightly portly and a little bored in Hell, tells of his forays into the World, seeking diversion and perhaps a new recruit to join him. These tales vary in length, employ simple, sturdy language, but all are dense with meaning, examining human foibles with sympathy, humor, and/or surprise. They merit re-reading and discussion. This is a slim volume of great richness, accessible to all readers. Hig...more
This is a wicked little book starring Old Scratch. I especially liked the Dorian Gray element of the story "A Palindrome," but they're all pretty good. Includes several memorable characters (besides the Devil himself) such as Walpurgis the foulmouthed goat, and a nameless minor demon who wants to be a rose gardener. I read "Perfection," the story of a sickeningly good little girl, aloud to my mother. She got a good laugh out of it, because she's never really liked good girls. Or boys of any sort...more
Lars Guthrie
I hesitate to say more than this is an enchanting little collection of short fable-like stories whose morals are invariably ambiguous, because there was such a joy for me in the unexpectedness of each of them. I was particularly fond of 'A Palindrome,' which starts with a kind man who paints pictures filled with cruelty, and ends with a cruel man who paints pictures filled with kindness, but every story is delightfully humrous, and completely unusual. And you can read it in no time. Highly recom...more
The first sentence reads: "One day when things were dull in Hell, the Devil fished around in his bag of disguises, dressed himself as a fairy godmother, and came up into the World to find someone to bother." I was hooked from the start! This is a light hearted fun read - there is nothing scary. It's ten short stories - that do not have to be read in any specific order. The first two are very funny, but my personal favorite - that I want to recommend to every mother and/or parent is Perfection.
These very brief stories were actually a delight to read. The come across as fables, each with a short moral. My daugher had requested the book from the library because she wanted to read as much Natalie Babbitt as she could, after watching Tuck Everlasting on television. My daughter, too, enjoyed these stories. It only takes about an hour to read through the entire book, but the writing flows nicely and most of the stories were quite enjoyable to read.
Kaycie Hall
"One day when things were dull in Hell, the Devil fished around in his bag of disguises, dressed himself as a fairy godmother, and came up into the World to find someone to bother."

Why would I not want to read a book that starts out in this way? I personally love the idea of the Devil as a rogue who schemes to steal pet goats and make other people open his walnuts for him. This little book made me laugh, and I love it for that.
Hilarious and wonderful! These stories of the Devil visiting the earth to tempt mortals was such a treat. I'm sure some readers will avoid this out of superstitious terror of the Devil, but this Devil seems strangely human and the writing style is delightful. My favorite children's book in some time. And thanks to Goodreads I have just found out there's a sequel. Hooray!
Paul Hasbrouck
Nice little collection of Devil stories, were Old Nick tries to have some fun with us mere humans. My favorite is THE HARPS OF HEAVEN, a screwball caper with The Devil sending two hard headed thieves on the rocky road to heaven. Their object? Stealing the angels harps.
This collection left me with a nice smile and the Devil would not like that.
Openly admitting that I have been reading a lot of children's books lately. Natalie Babbitt, why did I not read more of your books as a child? This is a delightful collection of short stories about the devil and the not so fair games he can play. Babbitt has a light touch, the morals don't always hit you over the head. "Nuts" is my favorite.
James Howald
I'd read this before and was looking for some quick reads to amuse me for a day. This fit the bill. From the devil making deals for a woman's beauty, to his love of goats, to his hatred of roses, it's a fun light read. No theology here, just cute little stories. Think Devil Went Down to Georgia, but written instead of sung.
Karen Sindayen
10 short stories about a mischievous devil running amok on earth. The tales are humorous accounts of the devil playing tricks on unsuspecting humans. I received this as a going away gift from a friend. I enjoyed it. It didn’t paint the devil as a scary monster, more like a trickster.
Sep 02, 2009 Elsha rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Elsha by: Lesley Blume's Recommended List of Classic Children's Literature
Again from a recommended list I heard about on the radio. This was a super quick read that I found humorous and even thought-provoking at times. Almost like an Aesop's fables but from the devil's point of view.
Victoria Law
After reading "The Power of Speech" in Sympathy for the Devil, I decided to see what other scrapes Natalie Babbitt could put the devil in. Definitely an entertaining read!
Christina Crooks
A mischievous, scheming devil makes trouble in each of these funny short stories. Simple, straightforward, and good for all ages. Tough to pick a favorite story - they're all fun and well-executed - but "A Palindrome" strikes me as particularly thought-provoking.
it was an innovative story for the 1970s. its interesting how the author see's the devil in the book. and how hell looks. the stories themselves were okay, i was expecting more when i read the description of it. all and all i dont regret reading it
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Natalie Babbitt was born Natalie Zane Moore on July 28, 1932, in Dayton, Ohio. She attended Laurel School for Girls, and then Smith College. She has 3 children and is married to Samuel Fisher Babbitt. She is a grandmother of 3 and lives in Rhode Island.

She is also a board member of the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance a national not-for-profit that actively advocates for literacy, li...more
More about Natalie Babbitt...
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