The Cabinet of Curiosities
Jar of eyes

The Cabinet has Received a STAR!


The Cabinet of Curiosities has received a STAR from Kirkus. Not a real one. Real stars are difficult to come by, even more difficult to preserve, and our specimen, in the mason jar under the third-story windowsill, has become dull and melancholy in his captivity. He will be replaced by this new one, we think, as it is really more of a figurative star and much more practical.

But in all earnestness: Kirkus, that venerable place known for chewing up books the way werewolves chew up children, has bestowed on our little collection of horrors a STARRED REVIEW. If you are confused as to what a starred review is, fear not. It simply means that the review has a star on it, like a Sneetch, and the star means that Kirkus liked the book a great deal, and to us, this is a vast and humbling honor. In fact, we’re all rather in a tizzy right now, fainting all over the furniture. You must excuse us. Would you like to see the review? Here it is:


“Styling themselves ‘curators,’ four of horror fantasy’s newer stars share tales and correspondence related to an imaginary museum of creepy creatures and artifacts.

In addition to Bachmann, the authors include Katherine Catmull, Claire Legrand and Emma Trevayne. The letters, scattered throughout, record adventures in gathering the Cabinet’s eldritch collections or report allusively on them: “I just let them creep or wing about the place,” writes Curator Catmull, “and stretch their many, many, many legs. What jolly shouts I hear when the workers come across one!” The stories, most of which were previously published on the eponymous website, are taken from eight thematic drawers ranging from “Love” and “Tricks” to “Cake.” Along with a cast of evil magicians, oversized spiders and other reliable frights, the stories throw children into sinister situations in graveyards, deceptively quiet gardens or forests, their own bedrooms and similar likely settings. Said children are seldom exposed to gory or explicit violence and, except for horrid ones who deserve what they get, generally emerge from their experiences better and wiser—or at least alive. Jansson’s small black-and-white vignettes add scattered but appropriately enigmatic visual notes.

A hefty sheaf of chillers—all short enough to share aloud and expertly cast to entice unwary middle graders a step or two into the shadows.” (Horror/short stories. 10-13)

Isn’t it lovely? Evil magicians, oversized spiders and other reliable frights? Lovely. If you like odd and scary stories, too, or if you have a pet, child, or corpse who likes odd and scary stories, you can pre-order this collection at one of these fine retailers: amazon | barnes & noble | indiebound | the book depository | itunes | books-a-million

As for us, we’ve revived from our fainting and are off to collect more stories for the coming weeks. Thank you, Kirkus, from the bottom of our damp and echo-y hearts.

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