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The Art of America’s Most Controversial Children’s Books…
Illustrations by Stephen Gammell

So the word on the street is that the series of children’s books called Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz is the grimmest set of books you could buy for kids. Many of his books have been banned in the States because the powers that be thought they were not good for kids to read. What really takes his books to the next level is the twisted illustrations that were created by Stephen Gammell to go along with Schwartz’s words. What strikes me about his drawings is that almost have a Nick Blinko/Rudimentary Peni vibe about them. When you look at the work that Stephen did for these books, there is no way to miss the clouds of despair that float above each of his drawings. Today we want to celebrate the artist behind grim graphics of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series. Be on the loo out for the documentary that is in the works about America’s most controversial Children’s books.


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Written By



  1. Micheal Kerr

    October 27, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Classic! I still have the Cassette even. Don’t remove her green scarf!

  2. Patrick Isles

    October 26, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Remember picking these up from my elementary school library purely based on the art. Completely blew me away when I was a kid.

  3. Jacob Riedel

    October 26, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Used to get these all the time at the library when I was in 2nd grade. Good times 🙂

  4. Shane Imhof

    October 26, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    this brings back memories, forgot completely about these

  5. Jerdan Edward Archibald

    October 26, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Nathan Singer

  6. Cesar Palacios

    October 26, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    I was fascinated by the drawing. Wish I still had that book

  7. Randy O'Mordha

    October 26, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    These were so fucking awesome!

  8. Mark Guiliano

    October 26, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    James Emma, do you remember these, cause I remember these?

  9. Chad Waguespack

    October 26, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Fav books by far! I’m about to order the originals off of eBay

  10. Christine Hartmann

    October 26, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    I loved these when I was a kid.

  11. Kimberly Hebert

    October 26, 2015 at 1:44 pm

  12. Aj Sperry

    October 26, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    I still got the first and second books!

  13. Tony Jake Jordan

    October 26, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I still have my copy of the first one. They were reissued with new illustrations that completely rob the stories of their power. That story “Haunted House” and the accompanying picture haunted my life for many years as a child.

  14. Penny Beverly

    October 26, 2015 at 9:54 am

    I remember reading these to my girls years ago. They loved the macabre artwork.

  15. Drü Messinger

    October 26, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Whoa I remember these.

  16. Sam Devine

    October 26, 2015 at 9:29 am

    They’re making a documentary about these books that I can’t wait to watch. They were a staple of my childhood and my daughter reads from my anthology edition all the time.

  17. Anastacia Von Hölle

    October 26, 2015 at 9:15 am

    My favorites growing up, my favorites now. I’m glad I get to share these with my kids!

  18. Cameron Bell

    October 26, 2015 at 8:36 am

    Buying these books for my kid

  19. Creepy Girl Travels

    October 26, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Black Coffin Tattoo Thought of you!!

  20. Bryce Phipps

    October 26, 2015 at 7:43 am

  21. Roy Linford Adams

    October 26, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Some of these stories were standard Halloween reading when I was in kindergarten.

  22. Maralee Sleight

    October 26, 2015 at 7:29 am

    These are really dark!

  23. Vicky Jeffree

    October 26, 2015 at 6:22 am

    Nathan, saw this and thought of you!

  24. Marcia Deville

    October 26, 2015 at 3:01 am

    Children’s book that parent will steal away from their kids, pretending that it is for their own good… Enjoy being an “old kid” agaaaaaaAAAAAAHHNNN!

  25. AZ Nichole

    October 26, 2015 at 1:20 am

    I owned them when I was a little little kid and i just repurchased the set from my sons scholastic order sheet sent home from school

  26. T Garrett O'Sha

    October 26, 2015 at 1:16 am

    Missed much sleep as a kid due to this art…wouldn’t have it any other way!

  27. Saul Chavez

    October 26, 2015 at 1:09 am

    Loved these when I was a kid. Great fucking art

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