Book Reviews

Way With Words, 1996 (anthology), Heinemann

Dread and Delight, 1995 (anthology), Oxford
University Press (UK)

A Gruesome Body, 1994, Anderson Press (UK),
Franco Panini (Italy)

Frankenstein’s Hamster, 1990
ABC, Puffin (UK), Dial (USA), Forum (Denmark)

“Barbara Griffiths’ ‘A Gruesome Body’ is a welcome breath of fresh air in the normally fetid atmosphere of the macabre… Entertainment is provided by the author’s swirling, atmospheric line drawings. These convey the same feelings of panic and disorder found in some late 19th century illustrations of ghost stories…The pictures have the extra appeal of mystery as well as fear, since the symbols they use can only be deciphered after a carefully reading of their accompanying stories. By welding graphics and text so successfully, Barbara Griffiths announces herself as an author-illustrator worth watching out for.”

— Times Literary Supplement

“Barbara Griffiths has raised the horror genre to a high art. Her illustrations are as macabre as the tales and are finely executed. Dialogue is often realistically coarse, and equally often witty, or both. The whole has a touch, more than a touch, of genius. Certainly the book is the product of a remarkable imagination.”

— School Librarian

Book Reviews
“…Barbara Griffiths trained at the Slade and first dipped her pen into publishing world as an illustrator, hence the exquisite and elegant pen and ink drawings which bring her tales to life…”

— Hampstead and Highgate Express

“Children who enjoy painting graffiti on train bridges, joy-riding in unauthorized vehicles, spreading giossip or being obnoxious at parties had best beware. A variety of hideous accidents, ghoulish punishments and hair-raising scenes lie in store in this debut book. Griffiths uses good old-fashioned bogeymen and the sometimes gory consequences of misbehavior in her moralistic tales – stories of the sort that are whispered around campfires after the grownups have gone to bed. Scary and appropriately horrific more by inference than explicit description, these tales are sure to provide thrill seekers with many a pleasurable shudder.”

— First Publishers Weekly

“Griffiths debuts with a group of scary stories that are guaranteed to shock and delight young readers with their deft plot spins and bold swashes of gore in a deceptively ‘normal’ world. In ‘Decorating the Bridge’, a student dies in a train accident and is reincarnated as his bumbling, alcoholic teacher; in ‘The Slipscream,’ a boy thinks he has done away with a potential stepfather – only to be haunted forever by his apparition. Tersely worded and swiftly paced, the ghoulish fun features comically eerie black and white illustrations, matching the tales’ cooly ironic tone.”

— Kirkus Reviews

“This excellent collection of chilling stories, with a stunning book jacket, will appeal to anyone who wants a change from the usual horror story. The author has taken familiar and often innocent situations and turned them into the things nightmares are made of…As well as the collection being well written with storylines that keep you reading faster and faster, the black and white drawings are fantastic. The author is primarily an artist and this shows in the way the often macabre illustrations depict the plot and urge you to read on – if you dare!”

— Durrant’s Junior Bookshelf

Book Reviews
“Ten short stories, set mostly in England, featuring ghosts; murders, both cold-blooded and accidental; frightening visions of the future; and a fatal curse from the past. Several of the tales are cleverly plotted in a Hitchcockian sort of way. Although they aren’t particularly gruesome, almost all convey an underlying cruelty or unrelenting darkness. The heavily crosshatched, stylized black-ink drawings contribute to the gloom. Whereas such collections as Vivien Alcock’s The Monster Garden produce a pleasurable tingle to the spine, these stories will leave readers with a shudder that may take days to shake. Fare for future fans of Stephen King.”

— School Library Journal