________________ CM . . . . Volume III Number 17 . . . . April 25, 1997

cover Scary Science.

Sylvia Funston. Illustrated by Dusan Petricic.
Toronto, ON: Greey de Pencier Books, 1996. 64 pp., paper. $9.95.
ISBN 1-895688-53-1.

Subject Headings:
Parapsychology-Juvenile literature.
Supernatural-Juvenile literature.
Curiosities and wonders-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2 - 8 / Ages 7 - 13.
Review by Brenda Partridge.

*** /4


You are about to enter a world of fear and terror, a world of ghosts and goblins, of monsters, aliens and unbelievable powers. It's a world full of unexplainable things that make you shiver . . . things that aren't supposed to be. But who's to say what's supposed to be and what isn't? . . . In the spooky, scary world explored in the pages of this book, you'll come across many strange creatures and events. Some have been mysteries for ages, and continue to puzzle scientists because they don't fit current scientific theories. But scientists past and present (see page 62) keep searching for the truth, in the hopes of answering the question: "Are they real or are they figments of our imagination?"

image Sylvia Funston, a multi-award-winning science author, in addition to writing Dinosaur Question and Answer Book, Kid's Horse Book, the Nature Book and co-authoring the Kid's Guide to the Brain, has been the editor-in-chief of Owl and Chickadee magazines. With such a background, not surprisingly her latest book contains material that has fascinated children for ages. The glossy front cover of this thin 8.5" x 11" paperback invites students to read at their own risk to determine the truth behind vampires, witches, UFO's, ghosts and more!

      The book is divided into five main chapters - It's Fright Time, Terrors of the Night, Things that Go Bump, Out of This World and Larger than Life. Averaging about ten pages each, chapters contain an incredible amount of information in small print. However, to keep the edition from becoming too text intensive, several strategies, such as coloured boxes, bullets, short paragraphs and plentiful illustrations and photographs, have been incorporated. image

      The illustrations are crucial to such a book, for, without their effectiveness, the book's audience would be limited to children with a junior or intermediate division reading ability. Each two-page spread has watercolour illustrations, and often photos with easily recognized brightly coloured borders are interspersed to reinforce phenomena.

      Focusing on the reasons some people become frightened, the text intersperses facts with fears and, most of the time, leaves readers to draw their own conclusions. Why do more girls than boys think that bogeymen live under beds? The bogeyman of the Algonkian native people eats people! Funston asks her readers to consider that bogeymen may be a way of dealing with the "ancient human memory of being hunted in the night".

      Activities designed to encourage readers to challenge some of the scientific phenomena are interspersed throughout the chapters. For example, readers can make tracks to resemble those of Big Foot or test their ability to have ESP.

      Recommended for home and school recreational reading, this reasonably priced book could also be used as a gift.


Brenda Partridge is a teacher-librarian at the Percy Centennial Library Information Centre in Warkworth, Ontario.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364