Review by C.J. Bunce
TV’s ultimate phobe, Adrian Monk, said he had 312 phobias, ranging from dryer lint, feet, and harmonicas, to polyester, thatched roofs, and touching food, to the fear of wind and zebras. It’s easy in a crazy world to be afraid of anything, or everything. Enter a new kids’ book billed as a horror book, Afraid of Everything: An Alphabetical Compendium of People’s Weirdest Fears. If you skip the “weird” part (that’s far too “judgey” for us), this book might actually help you realize that in having one or more fears, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And you’re not alone.
Adam Tierney wrote the book for his eight-year-old son in the spirit of books from his youth by authors like Alvin Schwartz and R.L. Stine. The artwork by Matthieu Cousin is creepy a la Addams Family with a dose of slightly gross. So this is not quite a self-help book. The stories are intended to be scary and gross, without the gore or slashery stuff of older kids’ horror. A few are prose stories, and others are poems, each supported by an image drawn by Cousin. And kids can learn the Latin name of each phobia.
Trapped in a school bathroom? In one story a girl becomes her cell phone. Another is afraid of freezing. Things like fear of poisons, germs, and electricity might be good things as they can keep us alive. But how about the fear of children, or silence, or being watched?
The book is alphabetical, with a phobia for each letter (Q is quietophobia, z is zoophobia), and it features eleven “bonus” phobias and accompanying stories, with art provided by several different contributors (one might be the fear of hair). Behind-the-scenes information, complete with sketches and thoughts from the creators on how they came up with the idea for the book, might interest young writers.
Courtesy of IDW Publishing, here is a preview of Afraid of Everything: An Alphabetical Compendium of People’s Weirdest Fears:
This could be a good book for the right kid–one not too scared, but also for someone who may need to boost their confidence and bravery. You can order Afraid of Everything: An Alphabetical Compendium of People’s Weirdest Fears here at Amazon, or add it to your pull list at Elite Comics or your local comic store now. It’s in stores now.