Thursday, 9 April 2015

A good scaring - Anne Rooney

I'm writing a scaryish story at the moment. Well, I'm not writing it - I'm at that stuck stage when you're rather fed up with it, know something is missing and are flailing around firstly trying to make yourself do any work on it at all, and secondly trying to fix it but not knowing how to. And when I've been working on the same scary bit for a while, it doesn't look scary any more. So I started thinking about what scared me in books when I was small(er).



This was the scariest thing ever. This and the following couple of pictures in which all the evil intent in that look is put into action, and those two scary mouths full of teeth... The Tale of Mr Tod.











But it's a close-run thing, because there was also this, in a book my dad brought back from Russia in the 1960s. I studied that picture of how to recognise a wolf for hours. And every time I had to go out to get firewood I just knew there was going to be a wolf. Of course there was. In Hampshire.








Then there was the bit with the ghost in Heidi. And pretty much the whole of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. And the tunnels in The Weirdstone of Brisingamen.

Which things scared you the most in  books when you were small? (I notice mine have a lot of wolfy things.) Please tell me - I need to distil some scariness for this book.

 



Oh - late entry!  That awful thumbsucking-excision picture in Struwwelpeter:


Anne Rooney
(Stroppy Author)

9 comments:

Susan Price said...

It was a picture of Grendel approaching Heriot in Eleanor Farjeon's retelling of myths. It was his crouching,creeping attitude that did it. Terrified four Price children, one after another...

An illustration of Rumpelstiltskin just about to tear himself in half was very effective too. I always liked wolves. I think that was the Jungle Book effect. Tigers, now... I was convinced the one from Dudley Zoo was going to be waiting behind our shed whenever I was sent out to empty the tea-pot.

Recognise very well the stage of a book you describe. I'm at that very stage now myself...

catdownunder said...

I had a picture book with an animal that had eyes that actually moved on the front. I was terrified of it but my maternal grandmother had given it to me and insisted that it had to be used so that I would "get over it". I didn't of course. I screamed my head off every time I saw the book. I was also frightened of the wolf in Peter and the Wolf and cried every time he ate the bird and then at the witch in Hansel and Gretel.
I still don't like those things - which says something about the way such experiences can mark you for life!

Julie Sykes said...

Witches! Then and now.

Not cutesie ones like Hermione and the Worst Witch.

The witch in Lizzie Dripping by Helen Cresswell, when read on Jackanory. She had a green face and pointy nose. She was guaranteed to have me waking in the night, screaming.

The last book in Ruth Warburton's Winter Trilogy also freaked me out with some very scary witches and witchy events.

Hannah said...

Any faceless person was absolutely terrifying to me. The Terrible Trivium from The Phantom Tollbooth, as well as a character on Are You Afraid of the Dark? are the two that stand out most, but I also remember feeling very disturbed in a Sesame Street skit with Bert and Ernie where Ernie removed Bert's nose for a sculpture he was making. Bert's noseless face gave me real nightmares.

I was also afraid of a portrait in my grandmother's attic. I later learned it was of my aunt when she was a child, but it looked nothing like her, and felt very spooky to me and my cousins.

Sue Purkiss said...

I don't remember being scared of anything in books at that sort of age, but there was plenty in books I got from the library as a young teenager - Dracula, the short stories of Arthur Macken, Dennis Wheatley's The Devil Rides Out... bit of a theme going on there!

Chantal S said...

The Weirdstone tunnels; the moving, speaking (a single word), stones in Marianne Dreams.

Juliet said...

The wolf in Peter and the Wolf, Carrie's War (particularly the skull!) and the menacing "Lift the latch and walk right in" from Little Red Riding Hood. Susan Cooper's books were pretty frightening too-Greenwitch...shudder!

Richard said...

The Weirdstone tunnels, but especially the syphon.

There was a children's serial on TV, I can't find the name now, where a girl drew things and they became real. She drew some standing stones and they appeared in the garden. Then she drew an eye on one.

C.J.Busby said...

I remember being terrified of the kitchen machines all starting to work without being plugged in, in Elidor, and the shadows on the windows...

There is a picture of the Gloamglozer in the Edge Chronicles that had to be covered with a sticky note for both my eldest children - I think actually the book had to be removed from the bedroom as well!