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Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  627 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
Twelve years ago, for 12 days straight, the town of Widowsbury suffered a terrible storm, which tore open a gate through which escaped all sorts of foul, rotten things. Strange things and strange people were no longer welcomed in Widowsbury, for one could never be sure of what secrets waited under the surface . . .

Adelaide Foss, Maggie Borland, and Beatrice Alfred are kno
ebook, 272 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jun 07, 2013 DMS rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amara
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow by Katy Towell is the story of three unusual girls, classmates at Widowsbury's Madame Gertrude's School for Girls, and their efforts to save the town of Widowsbury and its inhabitants from a 12-year-old curse.

Twelve years ago, for 12 days straight, the town of Widowsbury suffered a terrible storm, which tore open a gate through which escaped all sorts of foul, rotten things. Strange things and strange people were no longer welcomed in Widowsbury, for one
From August 2011 SLJ:
Gr 4-6–Twelve years ago, a ferocious storm tore through the town of Widowsbury, unleashing evil forces. Now, the residents view any strangers with distrust. And so when Mr. Zoethout arrives in town on the storm’s anniversary, it is no surprise that his vending cart full of sweets is ignored by the local children. At Madame Gertrude’s School for Girls, Adelaide, Maggie, and Beatrice have their own problems: the new librarian, the first person to ever extend a hand in friendsh
Sep 05, 2011 Collin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The characters were brilliant. Anyone who reads this book, even if they didn't like reading, would agree that they're fantastic. Maggie, for example, does the thing we always want to do; beat up the bullies. We feel sorry for Adelaide because it really isn't fair, the way they treat her. I don't know about the rest of you, but I would have comforted Beatrice. And Mrs. Merryweather was believable; they'll deny it, but there *are* teachers who just hate you for no reason.
It's good for all ages; ki
Margo Hook
May 17, 2011 Margo Hook marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Dec 21, 2012 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminded me somewhat of "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" but I liked this book much more.
The scary children are Adelaide, Maggie, and Beatrice. They have been isolated from the rest of their peers, at the Madame Gertrude's School for girls, by the headmistress Mrs. Merryweather. She blames the three girls for just about anything that goes wrong so that they are in a constant state of punishment.
When the twelfth librarian, to work with the girls, reaches the school she is
Rebecca McNutt
I'm confused as to whom the audience for this was supposed to be. It's rather dark for children but too juvenile for adults... maybe YA? Well, one thing is certain, with the title Skary Childrin it definitely isn't a book you want to give your children if your goal is to increase their spelling skills!

This novel has a wonderfully eerie cover, but it offers more than it has to give. I mean, before Skary Childrin there was Coraline by Neil Gaiman, and Marianne Dreams (The Magic Drawing Pencil, #1) by Catherine Storr and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1) by Ransom Riggs and Emily The Strange (Emily the Strange Graphic Novels, #1) by Cosmic Debris and The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold, so many countless other creepy little books fo
Natalie Carey
This was good. It took me a long time to slog through, despite it being middle grade. The story was interesting enough, and the illustrations were great - a couple were super creepy, which was awesome. I just felt like I had to force myself to read it because I still hadn't finished it. But it did go much quicker through the second half, once I sat myself down and dedicated real time to it.

One gripe I have is that the only boy the girls interact with ends up being the most active character in t
I love Katy Towell (please check out her website "childrin r skary" and watch the awesome videos) and this is a pretty good freshman attempt at a novel, but there are too many places where it feels like she's making it up as she goes along for this to be a really effective plotting. The characters are wonderful as is the moral of the story and the illustrations are freakin' amazing. I wanted more of them. Maybe, though, Towell should write graphic novels.
Feb 09, 2012 Genevieve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the end, quite a sweet book, though with some creepy descriptions that I would have found terrifying as a child. The pencil art is charming, though its unfinished quality may take some getting used to. I picked this up at the library not knowing anything about the author/illustrator and was quite pleasantly surprised.
Oct 19, 2011 Indra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fantasy
Silly book, but in a cute way. Enjoyed it. It kind of reminded me of Hayao Miyazaki films and, of course, Tim Burton.
May 17, 2011 Evalinlove rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have seen all thre videos on youtube and i cant wait till i get a copy of it. Since i live in a small town with no book store it is quite hard to get it.But i will try to get it no matter what.
Have you seen that Care Bear television episode or movie where there is a boy who is bullied and this monster takes him over and he becomes super creepy? He was so evil no one was sure the Care Stare would be enough. It came to mind near the end; which is strange because Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow is far from cheesy or sappy—but it may cause nausea. However, the nausea would come from picturing oozing vomit-covered bodies, and that crow plucking at a worm—no! a finger?! Or physica ...more
Oct 26, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, paranormal, children, scary
Overall Review: Meet the Scary Children (or Skary Childrin, as spelled by Beatrice): Adelaide is shunned because everyone believes she is a werewolf! Yes, her ears are pointed, her fingernails look more like claws, she can see and smell more than anyone else…but that doesn’t mean she’s a bad person, right? Maggie is amazingly strong and beats up those who try to pick on others—which means she is shunned as well. She’s also usually very grumpy and sarcastic, but she’s a loyal friend. Beatrice can ...more
colleen the convivial curmudgeon

Adelaide, Maggie and Beatrice are trouble. Or, at least, they're different which, for the other students and teachers at Miss Gertrude's amounts to the same thing, since the three are often blamed for every bad thing that happens in the school.

But then comes Miss Delia, a new librarian who, instead of automatically condemning the children befriends them. Their good fortune is short-lived, however, as Miss Delia disappears mysteriously, and the children come together to find her, befriending e
Blane Doyle
May 17, 2011 Blane Doyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, children-s
This book was much more enjoyable than I had expected, and let me say first and foremost I would recommend this to almost anyone.

Katy Towell clearly put a lot of effort into this book, not only in the writing but in her illustrations, a few of which genuinely disturbed me (readers of the book, you know which ones I am talking about). It has the same quick but interesting feel of her animations and you genuinely like and feel close to the main characters. The story is interesting, the characters
Mary Braden
Jan 10, 2014 Mary Braden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book after i came across the author YouTube channel. I had always been a fan of creepy yet imaginative stories, along the lines of Tim Burton's work, so after seeing the synapsis for the story i thought, "why not?" and there were very few reasons for why not.

My first impression was how short it was, only 265 pages, which only took me about two and half hours to read, but even so it never really felt rushed. The pacing was proper, starting of slow and introductory, then when the
Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrows is a book that I purchased at ALA this year. What initially drew me to the book was not only the cover but the spelling of the title Skary Childrin. Right off the bat I knew this book would be a fun and slightly spooky read and great for my Middle Grade Monday feature! After flipping through the book I knew I had to purchase it because the illustrations are pretty awesome!

Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrows centers around the three main character
Aug 18, 2011 Mae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Macabre Readers
Recommended to Mae by: Goodreads
Skary Childrin and The Carousel of Sorrow is about three weird girls and an equally weird boy who lives in a weird town with evil humans and equally evil things. It's deliciously full of weirdness.

This is macabre at its best! The illustrations are marvelously strange and the main characters have delightfully weird traits. I also must admit that this book made me scared out of my wits! I was determined to finish it last night, and at around 2am I was in the part of the book where Adelaide and Mag
Sep 01, 2011 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a town where anything new is automatically labeled dangerous, these three girls from Madame Gertrude's School for Girls--Adelaide, Maggie and Beatrice--are the perfect example of why native Widowsburians are so wary of the unfamiliar. Pre-Storm Widowsbury, I imagine, was one of those quaint little towns where everyone knew everyone (and their business), and both people and events had a sort of day-to-day sameness. Even after the Storm, much of that mindset seems to have carried over, so to ha ...more
Jan 02, 2013 lia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-books
3.5 stars

Overall its an enjoyable book to read. With enough mystery and adventure to keep readers happy.

Twelve years ago, for 12 days straight, the town of Widowsbury suffered a terrible storm. The storm transformed their delightful and prosperous city into a bleak and dying city. People are afraid, unhappy and scared of anything new.

In the city there are two schools, for boys and for girls. Our three heroine, Adelaide Foss, Maggie Borland, and Beatrice Alfred are attending Widowsbury's Madam
Titis Wardhana
Mar 17, 2012 Titis Wardhana rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, children
these children are actually cute...

skary childrin ada 3 cewek dan 1 cowok yang not so scary, mereka Adelaide yang punya pendengaran dan penciuman super serta telinga yang runcing sampai digosipin kalo dia werewolf, Maggie yang kuat banget, dan Beatrice yang bisa melihat dan bicara dengan hantu binatang dan manusia, serta Steffen, anak koki di sekolah khusus putra di seberang sekolah cewek2 itu. Ketiga cewek itu sering sekali dihukum, entah itu karena memang kelakukan mereka atau karena jadi kamb
This was an extremely atmospheric book, it catapulted you into a grim, ghastly world full of ghouls, decay and paranoia. Case in point:

"Then there was a long, drawn-out whisper as the wind hushed the streetlamps, lulling their little orange lights to sleep. All was in darkness. Only the owls had the courage to speak, their hooting answered by the faraway wail of a phantom train."

I relish in slightly creepy descriptions like that. The characters are amazing, especially the 3 leading women. Despit
Lydia Now
Feb 22, 2011 Lydia Now rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can't have a great story without a great villain. It takes some very smart bad guys to bring out the best in heroes and Katy Towell really brought out the best in her characters. Any fans of Towell's videos and artwork ( will notice the shift in her voice as she brings her talents to a younger audience, but she's careful not to leave anyone behind as she creates a world of rich characters and wonderful places in this book. There are so many possibilities here for a series. I can't ...more
L.R. Pardee
This was book number two for mother-daughter book club this summer (and the last one because--where did summer go?) chosen by my older daughter. Three misfit girls at the boarding school from hell in a town swallowed by the apocalypse band together with the little urchin from down the road to discover why their beloved teacher has disappeared. Hint: take a second look at the nice man who just arrived in town to sell candy.

The characters were engaging and the story well-written, but there are so
Nov 05, 2011 Patty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any one who loves a skary
Short summary...
Three misfits at a girls' boarding school plus one misfit at a boys' boarding school meet for an awfully " skary" adventure.
The girls...Beatrice, Adelaide and Maggie work with Steffan to discover why and how townspeople are disappearing.

My Thoughts...

Fantastic scary scenes depicting a very mysterious carousel that actually lures people into the woods and spins them faster and faster and faster until they disappear!!!
The scary factor was just about right...this adventure was just
Héla Mecq
Towell's writing is almost as good at conveying frightening fantasy themes as her videos.
I think this would have worked better as a more graphic novel; i.e. an extended comic book, rather than a piece of extended prose.

SCatCoS achieves its aim of presenting a terrifying story - not one to read before bed for those with vivid imaginations.
I did not like the American, circular style in which this book was written, and found the combination of American and English terms of phrase irritating.

Daniela Pérez nava
I've been a fan of Katy Towell's flash animations since 2004. I was so happy to find this book in Mexico City and started reading the story with all the short stories of the animations in my mind. I was a bit scared (ha) to find this long story not as entertaining as the short ones. It looked like the terror in the book was more light, since it is directed clearly to very young readers...But I was wrong. This book really has creepy and odd moments that really scared me, at least a bit. It is a v ...more
Ticklish Owl
This book was a like a cross between Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, A Little Princess, and Something Wicked This Way Comes.

If you liked this book, you might also enjoy:

The Boneshaker
The Flame in the Mist
The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls
Review of an advance copy:
I really, really like the characters in this book. The three girls and Steffen are all quite interesting and make a great team once they decide it's okay to be friends. I liked the unique attributes that have sprung up in the town, but I thought it was strange that these three girls with the most unique attributes aren't natives to Widowsbury. I don't understand why they would all end up there and still be the odd ones out in a town known for strangeness. I also wish th
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KATY TOWELL is the creator of the Childrin R Skary website. She is also a graphic designer, writer, and illustrator in Portland with dreams of one day being the scary old lady in the house about which all the neighborhood children tell ghost stories.
More about Katy Towell...

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“If we run away every time we have a nightmare, we'll never really wake up.” 23 likes
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