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The Too-Scary Story

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  251 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Grace wants Papa to tell her a scary bedtime story... but her little brother Walter doesn't want it to be TOO scary! So as Papa invents the story of two children out for a walk in the woods, Grace and Walter take turns correcting him. But when darkness falls, a shadow looms, and footsteps follow the children all the way home, will the siblings triumph over the too-scary st ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published June 27th 2017 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Average rating 3.42  · 
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San Diego Book Review
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reviewed by Amy Shane for San Diego Book Review

When Papa puts Walter and Grace, his two brave explorers to bed, he starts to tell them a bedtime story. Grace wants a scary story, but Walter doesn't want it to be scary at all. With the constant pleas for “scary” and cries of “too scary,” Papa settles into his story, alternating between the two. But when the story takes a turn and a dark shadow monster creeps into the room, it’s up to Grace to save the day.

You can read this entire review and othe
I like the illustrations in this book because the use of pencil, watercolor, gouache, and hand-painted tissue collage lends an appropriately spooky aura to the story. As happens so often in many families, Grace and Walter are ready for a bedtime story, but they beg their father to make it really scary. Walter frets during the telling of the story since some parts seem "too scary" (unpaged) to him while Grace eggs their father on. The children become increasingly frightened until Grace uses her w ...more
Grace and Walter request a scary bedtime story from Papa… just not too scary! Grace wants it more scary, but not Walter. This is a great story to use when teaching about narrator or character point of view. Spoiler Alert!!… It’s not TOO scary! Safe for PreK & Kinder babies! My favorite part is the father in a positive, integral role, story-telling & getting the children ready for bed! Also, the limited color and details in the illustrations allow the reader to focus on the characters and text (s ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Murguia, Bethanie Deeney The Too-Scary Story. PICTURE BOOK. Arthur A. Levine, 2017. $17.

Gracie and little brother Walter are ready for their bedtime story. Gracie wants something really scary, but Walter is not so sure. Each time Gracie encourages Dad to amp up the scare he does, but then he brings it back down for Walter – until the very, scary end!

This will be so much fun to read aloud. Teague skillfully manipulates the tension within the story, creating a perfect experience for young readers.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
The pictures in this are most endearing. So are the characters. The plot, however, I think is one that is more for parents to relate to than children. Not that children can't read and enjoy it, it just feels more geared toward parental enjoyment. However, I will say this book is classier than using sexual jokes to gain that effect. It mostly is through nostalgia and relatableness of a parent attempting to tell kids a story, but the kids won't stop interrupting. Because it portrays kids so well, ...more
Tiffany May Ross
Mar 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: andis-shelf
My three year old “loves scary stories”. At least she says she does- to my knowledge she’s never actually heard one 😂 Anyway, when I read the title of this one to her, she got really excited! The big drawback, in my opinion, is that it’s told as a story within a story, which was confusing to her little mind. It’s about a dad telling/making up a bedtime story for his kids. His kids interrupt the story at times and I could tell this confused my toddler. I do think she found it thrilling though. Sh ...more
Debbie Smith
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Grace and her little brother Walter are ready for their bedtime story. Grace wants Papa to tell a scary story since she has a wand, but Walter is not so sure that will work for him. Each time Grace encourages Dad to make the story scarier he does, but then he brings it back down when Walter says it’s too scary. But when darkness falls, a shadow looms, and footsteps follow the children all the way home, will they be able to deal with it?

Cons: None

Pros: Just the right blend of both scary and not-s
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The Too-Scary Story" follows a bedtime tale for two little kids. Big sister wants a scary story, baby brother doesn't. Papa has to tell a bedtime story that is equally scary and reassuring at the same time. I loved the way the scary elements in the story combine to make brother and sister work together to protect each other in the story. The illustrations perfectly match the pacing of the story. This book would be a great bedtime story or read aloud at a campfire. ...more
Emily Snow
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I thought that this book was very cute. However I didn't really understand the story the author was telling because it wasn't what I was picturing it to be. I was picturing the story be about kids having a contest who could tell the scariest story, but didn't get it. My favorite part was the story was told from the perspective of the dad and the kids were experiencing the story. I thought that this would be a book house for a Halloween read-aloud. ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a good story about a man telling his children a scary story. he tried to make a scary, for his daughter; but not too scary for his son. I liked the idea of as the father's telling the story; the children are acting it out.
I feel that young children will like this story. So don't be too surprised if, after you read this story to them, your children climb into bed with you.
Addison Children's Services
Just in time for Halloween this is the tale of a brother and sister who want a scary story, but not too scary. What happens when their father tries to tell a story to make both of his children happy? Is creeping monsters in the dark shadows OK for one but not the other? A fun story to cuddle and read with your child that will having you guessing about the ending to the very last page.
Keri Douglas
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a great bedtime family read aloud. When two kids want their dad to tell them two different stories for bed (one scary, one not), the dad has to get creative. This story brings you to the edge of almost scary with the big sister as the hero with her magic wand. This will be an alright addition to a school library collection, but more preschool than normal.
Molly Cluff (Library!)
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: halloween
A dad tells a scary story to his brave daughter and not-so-brave little son. Whenever the story starts getting too scary for the brother, Dad tones it down (spooky monsters in the woods become sleepy forest creatures, the dark shadows become filled with fireflies, etc). The end is cute where the dad himself was the "shadow" that was chasing them. ...more
Oct 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: holidays-prek
Overall I enjoyed the story and the illustrations. I liked how there was suspense, but didn't understand the part where they couldn't find their Papa. That part confused me a bit, but I think children would like this book. It's a great story to ask lots of questions of what they might think is happening or will happen next. ...more
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
How scary should a bedtime story be? Dad tries to create one just scary enough. Fun story that lots of bedtime listeners will relate to. Illustrations provide a great extension to the text with just enough scariness too.
Time for bed! Siblings Grace and Walter ask Papa for a story -- scary, but not too scary! Can Papa's story fit all their demands and suggestions? Grace has her wand to protect them - and a trusty dog to growl away anything TOO scary. A nice introduction to the world of "scary" for preK/K. ...more
Brenda Kahn
Back when I was a K - 8 librarian, I always had at least one Kindergartner or first grader who insisted on reading a really scary story and my age-appropriate offerings were just too tame. I think they'd get a kick out of this one. ...more
Tracy J Hora
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Papa does a fantastic job of telling his two children a just-right scary story. Big sister wants a little more scare, and little brother does not. Papa changes the fear factor for each as he tells his bedtime story.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Magic wand. The kids' imagination was good. ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Beware of creatures, footsteps, and shadows. Befriend the fireflies, and of course, bring your dog for a good night.
Lara Samuels
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cute! Great way to show how to build a story and take it in different directions with word choice and a evolving story plan.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Cute story with good illustrations. Love how the father changes the story based on his children.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Cute for Halloween or Family Fort Night?
I think this is supposed to help kids get over their fear of the dark but I think it just might scare them more. Comes off a little too spooky.

From advanced reader copy.
Joey Gremillion
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the absolute WORST choice for a bedtime story, but it is a WONDERFUL read, in general.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun read aloud during a spooky time of year!

3.5 stars
Aug 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
reminds me a lot of my dad telling me and my brother all sorts of scary tales made up on the spot.
mary dewley
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Parents who have more than one child will easily be able to relate to the narrator (the father), as he tries to please both his children by telling them a scary story at bedtime.
Michael Rank
I felt the too-scary story wasn't long enough to even be a too-scary story. ...more
Sep 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-to-e-2018
Nice illustrations, and I love the sibling adventures.
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Bethanie Deeney Murguia earned an MFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts. Bethanie lives with her family and her forty pound lap dog, Thunder, in Sausalito, CA. She is the creator of numerous picture books, including Zoe Gets Ready, Cockatoo, Too, and The Too-Scary Story.

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