Creatures Of The Night: An Anthology of Fangs, Claws and Jaws by Heather Beck
Publisher: Treasure Cove Books
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (114 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Age Recommendation: 10+
Reviewed by Astilbe
When night falls and the moon shines brightly, creatures emerge to stalk their prey. Heather Beck presents Creatures Of The Night, an anthology of fangs, claws and jaws.
What would you do if you discovered a creature that isn’t supposed to exist? How would you react if no one believed you when you told them what you’d found?
The characters in this collection come up with a wide variety of answers to these questions. Some believe what they’re seeing right away while others search for more mundane explanations, but all of them approach their discoveries with curiosity and courage.
“Werewolf Hunting” is a fast-paced adventure. Bill must discover who or what has been attacking his guests before the police force him to shut down the Grizzly Bear Lodge for safety reasons. The plot twists were creative and kept me on my toes until the very end.
“Eyes of Red” follows a shy, teenage girl named Lisa who is reluctant to give up her Halloween traditions because they were such an important part of her childhood. When trouble strikes Lisa is the first to leap into danger in order to help others. Her persistence and ability to think outside of the box in high pressure situations made her my favorite protagonist in this book.
The relationship between Alex Pierce and her father in “Night of the Eel” is strained to say the least. Mr. Pierce is so focused on staying young and hip that he treats his daughter like a rival instead of a family member. While the plot was intriguing the depths of his immaturity made it difficult for me to enjoy this tale. Jokes should end with everyone laughing, not just one person.
Before reading “The Pumpkin Patch” I never would have imagined that a pumpkin could be aggressive. Scott West’s obsession with this fruit is only expressed once a year during Halloween, but after burying a bizarre pumpkin in his backyard one fall he is shocked to see baby pumpkins growing in the same spot the next year. The premise is perfectly suited for middle school students, but I did wonder how a new patch could grow if last year’s pumpkin was buried after all of its seeds had been removed.
“Call of the Loon” ended this collection with a creepy peek into an unusual summer camp. Lorelei is disappointed when her parents ship her off to camp for four weeks, but as soon as she arrives she becomes caught up in the mysteries of Camp Loon. The foreshadowing was spooky, and the ending fit the atmosphere of this tale perfectly.
Creatures of the Night is a great choice for preteens interested in paranormal stories who are just beginning to transition to scarier material. The frights are genuine, but none of the monster descriptions are graphic or inappropriately violent.