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The Devil's Storybook

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  635 ratings  ·  85 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
ebook, 112 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published 1974)
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Rating details
 ·  635 ratings  ·  85 reviews

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Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've loved this my whole life. I still like creative fables, and 'flash fiction.' And of course Babbitt is the best... these *could* be told as anecdotes, even more concisely, but then we wouldn't get the sly humor, the interesting metaphors, the hints at larger philosophies....

I dropped this on the kitchen table and, sure enough, my 20 yo son picked it up and started giggling right away, and is going to read the whole thing.
"From his brimstone bed at break of day,
A walking the Devil is gone,
To look at his snug little farm of the earth,
And see how his stock went on."

Robert Southey

A very enjoyable collection of stories, all in some way dealing with the devil. I liked it so much I thought "There should really be more of these fables." and what do I find but Ms. Babbitt has written a second one. Now I just have to dig it up from oblivion. But really, these were more than just amusing, they were interesting. The one
Aug 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Shannon O'Hara
The Devil's Storybook is banned due to religious beliefs and overall personal beliefs. This book is about different stories of the devil entering the real world and his adventures and tricks. It also brings up the subject hell and which some families believe and don't. This book was banned due too parents not wanting their kids to hear stories of the devil or hell and teachers may have beliefs and don't feel comfortable reading it aloud or don't support what content is in the book.

I personally
Suzanne Fournier
Possibly one of the best books I've ever read. I absolutely adore books especially for children that tread on the darker side and are mischievous without malice. I love Natalie Babbitt and found a copy of the sequel to this in a used bookstore. I'd never heard of it but I'm delighted to have found it and will try to find a copy of this one for myself.
Feb 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Children's storytellers who want something unique
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
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
Nov 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
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.
Jan 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Julianna Martin
Oct 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: controversial
If my mother could see me now she would be quaking with anger. The Devil's Storybook has definitely been a challenge for me to read for a variety of reasons. As a Catholic, even the idea of reading about Satan in jest is to me, a betrayal to God. So this was something I had to take seriously and realize that I was reading this only for scholarly purposes and not as a means of morally evil entertainment. In the eyes of a writer and a reader, however, I will acknowledge that although this was ...more
Jenna Weaver
When first looking at the cover and title, it is no wonder this book was on the American Library Association's list of controversial books. Parents complained about "The Devil's Storybook" in 2003 because they were uncomfortable with their children reading books about the occult. This book may also be controversial also because of the way it portrays heaven and hell, the devil, and angels. When actually reading the book, it is clear that this book is a compilation of short stories that show how ...more
Jenna Fenstermaker
This is a great book filled with whimsical, clever stories. I first picked it off the library shelf because it was on the ALA list of frequently challenged books. I can see why people would challenge it before reading (because the main character is the devil), but in my opinion, this book is not meant to be offensive to anyone. The devil is not romanticized, and merely acts like the main character of most other stories. I particularly loved the first story, in which the devil tries to trick ...more
I was in a Storytelling workshop today, and this was one of the options on the table presented for learning. It's not the story I eventually chose to learn, but I did steal the book anyway to take home and immediately devour. This is a quick little book of stories appropriate for children, twisty and sharply funny. Hell is Evil, but it's also just A Place To Be, and it's a pleasant dissonance. Also in the very first story, the Devil dresses up as a fairy godmother and goes out to make trouble, ...more
Young At Heart Reader
A cute little storybook about the Devil getting into shenanigans. Some are kind of structured like fables or morality tales and others are just silly little anecdotes. I was surprised that this is the same woman who wrote Tuck Everlasting, but the prose and pictures have a distinct charm to them. I definitely laughed every once in a while at the odd humor. It's just an extremely quick and simple read that I needed in between books right now.
A fun little book with a mischief-loving devil who just can't seem to win. It was like reading the old folk tales with one protagonist a little wiser than the foolish character where you can't help smiling at his/her predicament and the clever solution. Enjoy!
David James
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one is fun. Fans of Neil Gaiman's young children's books will surely enjoy it.
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For some reason, stories in this genre have always tickled me. I adored this and have read it twice over the years.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Used this as a read aloud in my library many moons ago. The stories are as funny, thought-provoking, and stylishly written as ever. Very glad I purchased my own copy and re-read these tales.
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent! Will definitely be rereading
Mary Beth Phelps
A hilarious, thought-provoking story collection perfect for reading aloud. The 10yo, 5yo, and 3yo loved it. Destined to be a yearly tradition.
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...does this date me, or what? I didn't even know who "the Devil" was, so ...more
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, books-i-own
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
Dec 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novella
I discovered this little gem after looking up books by Natalie Babbitt, who is probably best known for “Tuck Everlasting”. I’ve read a few of her books and enjoy her storytelling. This book has been banned in many schools and towns simply because it’s a book featuring the Devil. Of course this made me even more curious because I could not see Natalie Babbitt writing anything derogatory for children. This is a book full of short stories about the Devil and how he tries to torture and make people’ ...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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Lisa Scott
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, middle-grades
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 ...more
Nov 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
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.
Jun 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Mar 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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Natalie Babbitt was an American writer and illustrator of children's books. She attended Laurel School for Girls, and then Smith College. She had 3 children and was married to Samuel Fisher Babbitt. She was the grandmother of 3 and lived in Rhode Island.
She was a board member of the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance a national not-for-profit that actively advocates for literacy,