HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Spine Chillers Book 3: The Fortune Teller and Other Tales That Terrify
Author: Jim Razzi
Illustrators: Jacqueline Rogers and Joan Holub
Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap, 1991
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 7-10
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Razzi, Jim. Spine Chillers Book 3: The Fortune Teller and Other Tales That Terrify (published in 1991 by Gresset and Dunlap Publishers Inc., a division of The Putnam and Grosset Group, New York City, NY). “Spine Chillers” is a series of horror anthology children’s books written by Jim Razzi. Jacqueline Rogers provided the series with the cover illustrations while Joan Holub created the internal illustrations. Most stories featured young protagonists who would usually find themselves unwittingly facing a paranormal situation or antagonist. While each story usually ended on a happy note, some stories would feature a twist ending, creating a last-minute “jump” scare.
This particular volume includes an automated circus fortune teller who seems to follow a dishonest girl around, a long-dead lifeguard who rescues a drowning boy, a magic potion that is supposed to make a girl fall in love with a boy, a whistle which unknowingly summons an evil creature, and a nightmare that seems all too real but has a surprise ending. The tales are certainly spooky but being for a slightly younger set are a bit tamer and not overly morbid like “Goosebumps.” They are actually fairly good.
Jim Razzi wrote many other scary story books for children, but this series lasted only for four volumes and ceased publication in 1991. The books are currently out of print. I picked mine up on the free table at our local library. It is Book 3 of 4 in the “Spine Chillers” Series. The others are The Ghost in the Mirror (Book 1), Creature Feature (Book 2), and The Scream Machine (Book 4). Preteen kids who like their macabre on the mild side should enjoy it.