By GLENN TOLLE
I love anthologies. Whether they are movies or books, anthologies, especially horror anthologies, always offer something fun for everyone. This is especially true for this edition of FRIGHTS FOR TYKES: the book is titled THE DEMON CAT AND OTHER STRANGE TALES, written by Aaron Percifull and published by WATERMILL PRESS in 1983. A slim volume with medium-sized type and numerous simple, but effective, illustrations, it contains eight frightful tales for young folks. The stories all take place in small-town or rural settings and vary from the classically supernatural to the weird.
The first story tells the tale of a man who, after his brother dies, discovers that there’s more to his death than meets the eye and seeks justice. The second features an old man by the name of Jack Blaine who makes an unfortunate deal with the Devil and suffers the consequences. The third story gives the anthology its namesake and, not surprisingly, features a cat with more than just catitude. Other tales feature aquatic creatures, Bigfoot and ghosts.
The stories feature common themes and narrative structures found in other folk tales and children’s horror fables. What makes them so special here is their succinctness and their exploration of morality in human interactions, such as animal rights, which features thematically in a few of the stories. It’s for these two reasons alone that I recommend you add THE DEMON CAT AND OTHER STRANGE TALES to your collection of children’s horror books. It’s a unique gem that covers familiar ground frightfully and effectively.