Shadow House

Since second grade, my nine year old granddaughter has loved reading middle grade horror mystery books. As she gets older, this becomes more appropriate as the target audience is apparently 8-12 year olds. Last year she enjoyed shocking her teacher and classmates with her reading choices. Students can choose their own books but are required to provide weekly status and book reports. She is currently reading Shadow House by Dan Poblocki. I read with her. We are on Chapter 27 of 38. The best part is the vocabulary she is developing by reading books that are also aimed at slightly older children. The odd part is that Zofia has always been too afraid to go downstairs alone in our house. She invents excuses for others to accompany her because she knows she has no logical reason for this behavior. The fear of being alone has long predated the books. Instead of causing the fear, horror stories in fact seem to provide therapy. We keep up a running commentary as we read. We mock the characters who inevitably enter obviously unsafe places and then always find a reason to split up when they are most vulnerable. Everybody laughs at movies where those in danger decide to separate but that is exactly what my sister-in-law and I did when we got lost on Mount Adams back in 2005. It was a mistake and we wonder to this day what we were thinking. Is there a human instinct that somehow demands separation when danger is the greatest? Or is the world divided into rational people and dummies like me who panic under pressure? If so, why have the dummy lines not died out?


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