|I find the claw marks scarier!|
There’s a fine line between the enjoyable spookiness of a campfire ghost story and the kind of fear that’s no fun at all. It’s hard for tellers of tales to stay on the right side of that line because it’s drawn in different places for different people. I’ve had kids refuse to read the second book in my Sherlock Files series because they find the original cover too scary, even though the “monster” in the book turns out to be not at all dangerous (and not really a monster). Some parents have been afraid that the ghost in Cold in Summer will frighten their kids, even though she’s so timid that she makes Casper look terrifying.
Parents don’t always know what frightens their children beyond what’s enjoyable. My daughter told me that when she was little, she was seriously spooked by the General Electric radio commercial that said, “GE: We bring good things to life.” She thought that meant that they went to cemeteries and dug up dead people who had been good, and revived them. How could I have known that she was frightened by this? (She’s now 27 and very well adjusted.)