The Unseen: Scary Stories


171 pages
ISBN 1-895555-42-6
DDC C813'.0873308





Edited by Selected by Janet Lunn
Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson

Dave Jenkinson is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba and the author of the “Portraits” section of Emergency Librarian.


Given the seemingly pervasive popularity of the Pike and Stine series
titles, teachers and librarians should welcome this collection of
“scary stories” that offers middle-school readers both the requisite
“chills” and literary quality. Among the 21 pieces Janet Lunn
assembled are 13 short stories, 5 “true” ghost stories, and 3
one-page poems. Though 11 of the items have been previously published,
their contents will be unfamiliar to most young readers. The authors
whose work has been included range from the well-known in juvenile
literature (e.g., Brian Doyle, Joyce Barkhouse, Kit Pearson, Sharon
Siamon, Paul Yee, Jean Little, and Tim Wynne-Jones) to those, like Hazel
Boswell and Maria Leach, whose names are perhaps better known in the
field of folklore and legend.

While most of the invented stories use a contemporary, earthbound
setting, in “The Haunting of The Orion Queen,” science-fiction
writer Monica Hughes places her characters aboard a starship bound for a
new colony on the planet Obduran. The short stories range in mood from
Ken Roberts’s amusing “The Closet” to Karleen Bradford’s eerie
“Who’s Invisible Now?” After Janet Lunn’s encounters with
Scotland’s spirits and witches in Shadow in Hawthorn Bay, it is
perhaps not surprising that her “Webster’s Roof” has a
“something” living beneath a Canadian suburban backyard. In some
ways, the book’s “spookiest” stories are those that, like Carole
Spray’s “The Keswick Valley Ghost” and James Robinson’s “Five
Candles on a Coffin,” are allegedly true. Recommended.


“The Unseen: Scary Stories,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,