Half-Minute Horrors, a collection of really short stories by renowned authors including Lemony Snicket, Jerry Spinelli, James Patterson, and many others is a book of short stories that kids will love, especially at Halloween time. The stories are very short, a half-page to maybe two pages, and some of them are in graphic novel format or in the form of poems. The stories are weird, and each one is very different from the next.
Maybe they’re not stories you would want to read aloud to a whole class (depending on the class), but definitely an appealing book to feature on the class bookshelf as Halloween approaches. The cover illustration of aliens in human costumes sitting in a movie theater is sure to draw readers in. The best part of that illustration is the one “real” kid sitting among the aliens, eating popcorn, and as engrossed in the movie as the rest of the audience!
Just a few examples:
- The first story, “Something You Ought to Know” by Lemony Snicket, is about the man who watches you when you sleep. It’s based on the idea that “The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.”
- “The Chicken or the Egg,” by Jerry Spinelli, starts out with a chicken and an egg arguing about who was first. It turns out that who was first isn’t the most important question.
- “Haloween Mask” by Sonya Sones, is a poem in which the line between a mask and the face inside it gets blurred.
- “The Legend of Alexandra & Rose” by Jon Klassen, is a picture of a house with a legend that explains what happened at each numbered location on the picture. It turns out that a lot happened.
- “A Disturbing Limerick” by Vladimir Radunsky, is a poem about a man who goes to a costume ball dressed as a dog biscuit. It’s a very short story!
- “The Prisoner of Eternia” by Aaron Renier, is a story in graphic format about a boy who discovers that the holes in the back of his closet are really air holes for something imprisoned in the wall.
This collection of stories is perfect for reluctant readers. They’re short and really engaging – the perfect combination to get kids to pick up a book! And the stories are so well done that they’ll appeal to students who are good readers as well, and maybe even to teachers. I’m sure teachers will be able to think of lots of great ways to incorporate one of these stories into a language arts lesson – could be some great little mentor texts. Check them out!
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