Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth by Chris Priestley

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Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth by Chris Priestley

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: More twist in the tale stories in this rather marvellous ghoulish and gothic series. Beautifully illustrated and with an old-fashioned feel, there's something tremendously attractive about the shiveriness of it all. Perfect gift for the literary child.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury
ISBN: 1408800144

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Young Robert is put on a train back to school by his stepmother. It's the first journey he's made on his own. It turns out to be more of a challenge than he could ever have imagined. The train stalls at the mouth of a tunnel and while the other passengers sleep through the wait, a mysterious woman in white tells him a series of stories - stories with a difference.

Hooray! Chris Priestley is back with more of his spooky tales of the unexpected. These gruesome stories don't disappoint. There's a Day of the Triffids skit, a Turn of the Screw skit, some particularly vicious fairy folk, supernatural monsters making murderous whirls in the long grass, horrible puppet masters and, well, everything nasty and unexpected you could possibly imagine. They are genuinely scary.

My favourites were A New Governess, which is the Turn of the Screw skit, with a very unpleasant nursemaid getting her just desserts, and Sister Veronica, an equally nasty nun also in charge of children, whose religious fanaticism gets turned on herself. I love the way Priestley has put the contemporary issue of the Catholic church's abuse of children into this collection of old-fashioned gothic tales.

Every tale is short and sweet and each chapter ends with the mystery of the woman in white being revealed little by little. The youngest of the book's readers will probably miss what's coming right until the end but the older ones will probably catch on. It doesn't really matter which, I think, because the suspense will be equal either way. The language, as ever, is deliberately of a high gothic tone and quite old-fashioned to modern eyes. It's accessible though, and it also serves to blunt some of the genuine scariness of the tales told.

There's something tremendously attractive about the shiveriness of it all and with Christmas already looming, Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth would make the perfect gift for the literary child.

My thanks to the nice people at Bloomsbury for sending the book.

They really shouldn't miss Tales of Death and Dementia by Edgar Allan Poe and Gris Grimly, which takes four slightly abridged Poe stories and illustrates them wonderfully and almost to graphic novel status. If they like high language and Gothic drama, I think they'd also enjoy The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant. The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric is an alternate world historical fantasy, but I think it would also appeal.

Buy Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth by Chris Priestley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth by Chris Priestley at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth by Chris Priestley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth by Chris Priestley at Amazon.com.


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