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Ghost: Thirteen Haunting Tales to Tell

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Ghost: Thirteen Haunting Tales to Tell is a ghost story collection for middle schoolers.

Featuring the only true ghost stories in existence (as the book itself will tell you), readers discover 13 eerie encounters that are perfect for sharing—if they dare.

With tales about a finger against the inside of a mirror, a wooded area where the trees look back, and a basement door blocked by a brick wall so thick it stifles the screams from below, this book is sure to haunt anyone who can't resist a spooky story.

• Filled with creepy poems and tales
• Features striking, bone-chilling illustrations from Disney-Pixar talent
• Book contains all original stories

This haunting book will consume your imagination and keep readers of every age up long past their bedtimes.

• Great for those who can't get enough of Halloween, ghost stories, scary movies, and all things spooky, as well as librarians and teachers looking for a thrilling read to share with students
• The perfect book to read by a campfire or during a slumber party—or alone under the covers in the middle of the night
• Add it to the shelf with books like A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Malice by Chris Wooding, and the Serafina series

160 pages, Hardcover

First published October 30, 2016

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5 stars
148 (32%)
4 stars
202 (44%)
3 stars
82 (18%)
2 stars
14 (3%)
1 star
3 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 103 reviews
Profile Image for Melki.
5,677 reviews2,324 followers
October 25, 2020
This is kind of an oddball. It looks like a picture book, but the stories inside are aimed squarely at older children. Some of the stories are pretty darned scary, with bad, BAD things happening to the young protagonists. Kids will, I suspect, love it!

I enjoyed all the tales, and the delightfully beautiful but creepy accompanying artwork.



The art reminded me, just a bit, of the unsanitized versions of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark illustrations.


Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,015 reviews1,405 followers
September 3, 2019
Middle grade horror and this exact style of artwork is my new favourite thing!

There are only thirteen true ghost stories, and all of them are contained here. The Illistratus team have combined together art work, which is equal parts eerie and sublime, with creepy short stories that converge on a variety of supernatural topics. Each tale measures in at only a handful of pages and yet every word inside of them packs a punch, for ultimate emotional appeal.

Despite never verging on full-blown horror for me, which I expected given the middle-grade age range this is tagged as and targeted towards, every story here was a chilling and clever creation and I rarely saw coming the concluding twists that most contained.

The prologue details how two small boys leave the safety of their log cabins to visit the groundkeeper’s cabin, which resides alone in the heart of the woods. The groundkeeper is a grim figure who strikes fear into the heart of his small, night-time visitors but acquiesces to deliver them the chilling tales that they desire. Twelve tales follow and all are detailed here. One is missing. The epilogue deals with this missing horror tale and left me closing the final page with a sick grin on my face at having been deceived in such a chilling and terrible manner.
Profile Image for amanda.
351 reviews26 followers
October 20, 2019
Do you want to hear a ghost story? Well, gather closer.

Honestly,I’ve said this before but WHY are ghost stories aimed at CHILDREN always the creepiest. Maybe it’s because they’re written so you won’t have to think that hard and not written in House of Leaves style but christ, this book was creepy as hell and scared me as an adult.

Like the title states this is a short story collection of lucky 13 stories complete with chilling illustrations.

Some are stories and some are poems and each pack a punch. My favorites are Depth and Epilogue but they’re all fairly good in their own right and honestly I don’t think I should have read this before bed because guess who had nightmares and woke up screaming again?


This is a fairly quick read and perfect for October, so ya know. Give it a spooky whirl.
Profile Image for Jenny.
1,279 reviews83 followers
August 28, 2020
Holy shit, this was awesome! I work at a library and it's very hard to recommend horror books to kids who like horror because HEAVEN FORBID WE SCARE THE CHILDREN, AM I RIGHT?! But this was the perfect blend of creepy, disturbing, scary, but definitely appropriate for kids.

Before I give my thoughts on each individual story, I want to give praise to certain things that most stories had to keep from sounding repetitive. First off, these stories made use of pictures, words, AND sounds. Rather than just letting the pictures stand for themselves or saying, "there was a tapping sound," the authors actually put the sound effects in and it definitely enhanced the storytelling. Second, authors made use of all kinds of settings, not just typical haunted houses. Forests, underwater, houses, snowy places, and it was great because it added variety. Third, some of the stories were told in rhyme or had a different writing structure which I LOVED. Anyway, enough rambling, let's talk about these stories!

"Prologue & Epilogue"-putting them together since they tell the same story. A great traditional start and creepy end to the collection. Loved it!

"Reflection"-despite knowing where this was going from the start, the imagery, atmosphere, and writing made this a chilling and suspenseful read.

"The Old Pond"-liked the brief discussion of grief and quick it was, almost as if the story's length was a reference to how quickly a life can be taken. Nice work.

"The Doll"-the first poem in verse and rhyme and it was CREEPY AS FUCK. Loved the ending, left it very open-ended and makes you wonder what the REAL purpose of the doll was.

"Point Whitney"-probably my least favorite simply because they characters weren't that interesting, but I do appreciate that this and "The Old Pond" were the only two where the protagonist's tried to right their wrongs. Loved the snowy setting, too!

"Fred"-second story told in verse and rhyme and this was unsettling for multiple reasons. Won't go into all of them, but let me just say that forests are an underappreciated setting for horror. When they're used properly, like in this story, they can make your skin crawl.

"Depth"-love the setting! I LOVE any kind of horror that takes place underwater. There are so many things that can go wrong and you have no clue who or what is lurking down there. This story definitely delivered on both fronts!

"The Descent"-this one made me feel like I was in that elevator with them, great use of sound and writing.

"Eyes Closed"-I liked how this went with how skeptics often explain away potential supernatural activity in order to remain in control, only for that desire to twist into arrogance, thus sealing their fates. Pride goeth before the fall, folks.

"The Library"-Holy shit, I loved the ending! There are many different ways it can be interpreted and I love it! Also, libraries are awesome and terrifying, great setting for a horror story!

"The Boy in the Basement"-HOLY FLYING FUCKER FUCK, THAT ENDING FREAKED ME THE FUCK OUT! Holy shit, that ending is easily the most disturbing out of all of them! Holy FUCK!

"Widow in Black"-I love me a good bully revenge story, and this one delivered! That's what you get for being assholes, kids!

"Green Eyes"-The final story in verse and rhyme. I really liked how it dealt with kids wanting to prove themselves to others and not fully grasping the consequences for those actions. Loved the final verse, though.

Those are my thoughts regarding these stories. Really loved this collection and would definitely recommend for others to read, even if you're an adult. A damn good collection, hope I can find more like it!
Profile Image for Samantha.
1,634 reviews78 followers
October 17, 2019
Fun, quick read for spooky season!

While the quality of the stories and the art is uneven (some are outstanding, some not so much), this is worth the read just for the epilogue, a truly clever gotcha that I didn’t see coming.
Profile Image for Rachael  Fryman.
288 reviews76 followers
May 18, 2020
Six word summary: Creepy short stories with terrifying illustrations!

Loved: That the stories tied together to make the collection feel somewhat cohesive. Also, the illustrations definitely added to the chilling effect!

Recommend for: Fans of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and other MG spooky stories!

Reminds me of: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark meets Through the Woods

Plot 3/5
Pacing 4/5
Characters 3/5
Writing 3/5
Enjoyment 4/5

Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Profile Image for Erika Reynolds.
204 reviews1 follower
August 16, 2019
I saw this recommended by Pernille Ripp. Every year my students write horror stories, so I thought this would be the perfect place to find mentor texts to help students write their own scary tales. I enjoyed the illustrations and plan to do some read alouds with my students. The only problem is the stories are a bit more elementary than I was expecting. I teach 8th graders and some of these stories aren’t particularly scary or creepy. I think this book would be great for 5th to 6th graders, but I plan to use a few of the stories in my classroom.
Profile Image for DaNae.
1,318 reviews73 followers
October 20, 2019
So, so many dead children. Just scary enough.

The art is extraordinary.

In a quest to find something to scare the pants of my sixth-graders this year, this book came highly recommended. Yes, many of the stories are retreads of standard tropes; the fortunate thing about introducing books to children is their limited exposure. I'm waffling between the spider story, the library one, or the basement. Perhaps each class will get a different one.
Profile Image for Helen Pugsley.
Author 3 books38 followers
October 29, 2019
Eh... Yes, it was scary! That ending doe...
I don't like the fact they advertise it as true. Kinda discredits everyone who has had a paranormal experience. (My jerky ghost coworker liked to move tools just to mess with us all.)
Anyway, my library classified this as YA. I would call it a juvenile fiction that breaks all the golden rule. Bad things touch the children's bodies. Death, chiefly.
All in all it's a cool book but it didn't wow me. Just being honest.
Profile Image for Alicia.
5,735 reviews108 followers
October 18, 2019
I have never had more fun. I just spent the last thirteen days reading aloud one story each night to my own upper elementary-aged kids. They enjoyed the stories, the illustrations, and were confounded by a few though as we talked about the clues, they were able to piece each one together.

Personally, I am gaga over the illustrations that compliment the stories. It's certainly not a graphic novel, simply an illustrated short story collection of ghost stories with haunting conclusions and some drawings that freaked my own kids out (forcing them to cover their eyes when I flipped one page in particular!)

Of course my favorite was "The Library" for more reasons than that I'm a librarian but because the story was creative. I was also really blown away by "The Reflection" and "The Boy in the Basement" but each one had unique qualities that made them a perfect addition to this collection.
Profile Image for Lindsey.
3 reviews
August 30, 2019
When I saw this sheved in the juvenile section of the library and flipped through it I thought, “This has to be labeled wrong!” I loved it as an adult. For a young kid, not so much. Each chapter is a different thing to make them afraid of- mirrors, lakes, elevators, basements, etc. My 11 year old is a little anxious as is and I can’t imagine her getting through this. But if your kid is into it, more power to them! :)
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,055 reviews5 followers
October 26, 2019
Ghost stories with retro illustrations for ages 10-14.

13 solid ghost stories. The illustrations were interesting, occasionally spooky, and never graphic. In fact, there were times when I thought the drawings made the story less intense.

The stories themselves were macabre, gothic, and creepy. As a librarian, I particularly enjoyed the tale set in a library.

A good starter for tweens curious about the horror genre.

*deaths, gothic scares
Profile Image for Lisa RV.
391 reviews30 followers
April 19, 2022
Perfectly creepy stories for middle schoolers. I especially loved the story setup: the prologue and the epilogue! And the book itself is beautifully made with high quality paper, binding, and impressive illustrations. We'll just have to see if it's spooky enough for the kids at my school as I have a rather low threshold for scary stuff, only surpassed by my even lower threshold for spicy food. : P
Profile Image for Sherry.
214 reviews3 followers
October 4, 2019
It was good, I just didn't love it and I'm not sure why. Maybe because a few of the stories didn't feel finished, maybe because the overall feel is so sparse. But the short stories are scary (good for 4th graders and older), and the illustrations are fine.
Profile Image for Randi.
874 reviews1 follower
April 12, 2020
A perfect souvenir purchase and read for my Vermont vacation. Atmospheric and beautifully illustrated. Sure to be a creepy classic alongside Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Profile Image for Alissa.
24 reviews1 follower
February 6, 2020
Scary stories but not too scary for my 8 year old. Loved Loved Loved the illustrations!!
Profile Image for Abby.
323 reviews
November 20, 2021
A wild ride through an awesomely dark set of illustrated stories. Each one was creepy in its own right, but paired with the pictures, they were VERY spooky! Read some of these for the Adult spooky story time, and people loved them!
Profile Image for Leah Agirlandaboy.
553 reviews13 followers
November 30, 2021
Fan-freaky-tastic. The stories range from mildly creepy to flat-out terrifying, and the illustrations are so, so, so incredible they push this into the five-star range. (I had to cover some of them up while I was reading because they were Too Much for This Grown Lady.) This isn’t a picture book for little kids—I’d put it a few steps beyond Schwartz’s “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”—but bigger kids who enjoy being haunted and taunted by their own imaginations will be pleasantly surprised at how non-babyish this is. (My 9yo loved it; my 12yo noped right out at the beginning.)
Profile Image for Julia.
30 reviews1 follower
August 1, 2020
Very excited to have this book to put into hands of lovers of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. DEFINITELY actually scary, lots of unhappy ending for children, so be careful who you book talk this one to. I personally would have loooooved it as a kid!
Profile Image for Tonja Drecker.
Author 3 books178 followers
December 14, 2019
Chills, thrills, and ghostly moments abound in this beautiful book, which has a high-quality touch along with a good dose of creepiness.

Thirteen spooky tales await to be unleashed in this lovely collection. Already the cover had me excited to dive into this one. The book carries a high quality feel, making it appear as one of those books which is kept on the 'special' shelf to be enjoyed for years. And it's not only the cover and binding which shines with that extra something. The illustrations are worth flipping through all on their own. Each one is nicely done and will have kids (and adults) thumbing through them time and again.

The tales are definitely for ghost story fans. These are not intended for more sensitive readers, but allow horrors and terrors to unfold...with some care, since it isn't intended for adults. Children do die unpleasant deaths, and the reader 'experiences' this with them. There is pooling blood and not just one evil, vengeful ghost. In other words, this is not necessarily a read for all middle graders, and I'd even tend to suggest it to a tween audience or, at least, middle grade readers who are accustom to a little more thrill and chill.

I was surprised how nicely put together these tales are. The language doesn't talk down to the audience, but rather might be a little 'high' for some. It has a literary feel, in some ways. Each story is well laid out, creepy, draws in, and grips the reader until the last sentence. The stories vary greatly too not only in plot but in settings, situations and time frames. Each one is different from the last, and each one holds its own type of scare. While some are more predictable than others, these tales do their job and will make small horror fans' hearts beat faster.

Readers ages ten and up who love chilling tales are sure to enjoy this book tremendously.
Profile Image for Carrie.
656 reviews1 follower
July 8, 2020
Classic style ghost stories and amazing illustrations. Loved it.
Profile Image for Mehsi.
11.7k reviews360 followers
May 13, 2020
13 spooky and scary tales to keep you up at night, this was an amazing book!

I was definitely in the mood for something spooky and something children/middle grade and I remembered I still had this one on my Kindle to read. I decided to read it and OMG this was just one of the best reads of this year for me.

It all starts when 2 boys from a camp nearby head to the gamekeepers hut in the middle of the night to hear 13 scary stories, they know the man living there has the BEST stories and they want to bring back some scary tales for their friends at the camp. The tone was really set from the beginning, the vibe was there. Be prepared to be scared.

There are 12 stories with the thirteenth one tying it all up. I LOVED the scary tales and also loved that some of them were poetry. My favourites would be the one with the mirror, the fish, the library, and the boy in the basement. The stories were all delightfully spooky and will definitely haunt you long after you finished the story. Some stories just left you to imagine what happened for yourself, others got you face to face with something dead and scary.

The ending? Predictable and not that original as I have seen a couple of other children's horror books with it, but I still loved it and squeed in delight because it was a great ending. It did fit very well with the stories we already heard.

The book also has very stylish/fancy illustrations, I loved their style and how well they fitted with the book and its stories.

I really want to get this book in physical so I can add it to my shelves. This is one book I want to re-read over and over again.

I would highly recommend this book to everyone!

Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com/
Profile Image for Natalie Pietro.
336 reviews53 followers
April 29, 2020
If someone told you there are only thirteen true ghost stories in this world would you be curious to hear them. Would you be so curious you wonder deep in the southern marshlands to find Old Man Blackwood’s decaying cabin. Old Man Blackwood with his long grey hair, bristly beard, and his flesh-colored prosthetic arm and hook await the boys to tell his haunting tales of horror. Thirteen haunting tales to tell!
The boys sit with freight as Old Man Blackwood delivers his tales. One after another each story more spookier then the last. The opening story Reflections felt like a dreamy fable. The Doll was another outstanding poem. It felt sweet yet evil. My favorite was The Descent. About a young boy trapped in an odd elevator with no buttons. Really well done and gave me goosebumps. Another great read is The Boy in the Basement. A bricked up doorway to nowhere is something you would hate to discover in your new home. Even worse sounds from behind! Finally I fell in love with The Library. Let’s just say rows of leather bound books so beautiful you have to fight the urge to touch them.
To add to the menacing narration, the authors have decorated each page with ghoulish illustrations that help paint the scenes so perfectly. Different artists coming together to bring life to this book. Life is what this book needs seeing there is so much death. Death!
So now it’s up to you to decided if these are true ghost stories or just someone with a marvelous imagination.
Profile Image for Amy.
534 reviews
October 25, 2019
This books is ART! The stories are very fun and dark, but they would be too short on their own. The illustrations take it up to an eleven! I read tons of ghost stories, and I was reading in broad daylight, and still jumped when the phone rang during a dark and creepy story.

Some of the stories are told in poem form. Extra credit! I checked it out from the library, but it’s so beautiful, I might need to buy a copy.

I recommend this book to fans of Neil Gaiman and even Edgar Allen Poe. Read it!
Profile Image for Christie.
378 reviews
November 3, 2019
On the one hand, I cannot believe this is considered a book for kids. I had a hard time getting through a few of these stories. I cringe to think of the type of kid who would be excited to read it. On the other, the stories are delightfully and legitimately scary, the illustrations are haunting, and the book was an absolute joy for this horror-genre-loving person to read. I just couldn't share it with my kid, who gracefully declined to listen anymore after the second story.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 103 reviews

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