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The Curse of the Campfire Weenies: And Other Warped and Creepy Tales by David Lubar
Cover Artist: Bill Mayer
Review by Colleen Cahill
Starscape Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765318077
Date: 04 September 2007 List Price $15.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

There is a long custom of people telling eerie stories in the dark of the night, probably going back to when men first tamed fire. The Curse of the Campfire Weenies continues that tradition with David Lubar's collection of weird and sometimes funny tales for readers young in age or spirit.

Once again we can revisit the creeping feeling of hearing about the man with a hook who stalks the courting teenagers, this time with a nudge and a wink.

Lubar taps the primal forces of fear from the start with "Mr. HooHaa!", as a young boy insists he could face any monster, "but clowns creep me out big-time". He rarely deals with clowns until his younger brother insists on one as his birthday party entertainment. While this story definitely has its hair-raising elements, there are also bits of humor, as when the boy offers to "make fart sounds" as a party diversion, as this would "keep them happy for at least fifteen minutes".

The same mix of macabre and wit is present in the title story, "The Curse of the Campfire Weenies", which follows a brother and sister who try to escape camping with a boring neighbor and end up wandering into a group of demented Girl Scouts who sing strange lyrics, including a "list of fast-food restaurants, beginning with Pizza Hut." It is hard not to chuckle when presented with such odd situations.

This collection is more than just humor horror. Some deal with a just revenge, as in "Bobbing for Dummies", where two bullies get a dark comeuppance after disrupting a Halloween party, or "Predators", as a man stalking children on the Internet gets a surprise when he meets his latest potential victim. The author knows kids, and stories like "Throwaways", where son is tossed in the trash after playing with his father's autographed baseball, uncover some possible parenting horrors. Many of us can remember the game of trying to swim to the bottom of a pool or lake, but few of us have face the dark secret that a pair of friends do in "Touch the Bottom".

Some of these works have a science fiction element, as in "Alexander Watches a Play", which the author describes as "what if a kid went to a movie and saw himself in it?", but with a threatening twist ... or two.

This collection is great for a reluctant reader, not only because the stories are thrilling, but because they are short, a few only being two pages. This highlights Lubar's writing skill, as the shorter pieces are just as creepy and fun as the longer works. It is also great to read out loud and could even be a book to take along on a camping trip. A definite must-read for Lubar fans, The Curse of the Campfire Weenies is a fun and creepy book, a good one to pick up on a dark and stormy night.

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