Should you need to pick between the available Scout campfire story books instead of buying them all, don't leave Dr. William Forgey's "CAMPFIRE STORIES: Things that Go Bump in the Night" off of your list.
"Stories to be good have to be credible" is the advice Forgey gives, and it's the credibility factor that sets this collection apart. These tales sound so real your audience may not see them as fiction. Youths 11 to 15 years old, (the suggested age group) will believe them up to a point, and they will like them. Properly told, even an adult audience should find some meat this anthology. Although the book is marketed to Scout leaders in particular, these are not "Scout" stories for the most part. Your non-Scout youth group will like them.
Besides the original stories created by the author, CAMPFIRE STORIES includes Forgey's masterful adaptations of uncommon vintage ghost stories penned by others, and even offers a true tale, "Death of an Old Lion" as told by Ernest Thompson Seton. Even a story by Mark Twain comes included. All of these stories are highly memorable, with entertaining, suspenseful plots. In "The Valley of the Blue Mist," Forgey shares his version of this old story, which is found elsewhere under other names, but his is the best version I've yet seen.
Only two of the stories out of the twenty were a disappointment: "La Cucaracha Mine," a pointless, plotless hole, and "The Indian Chief's Wait," which you will soon figure out is that familiar joke story, "Falling Rocks" in a poorly disguised form. The 5 stars are for the other eighteen "must-have" stories.
At least the storytelling advice given in this book is practical and useful. Forgey includes a sequentially-numbered plot outline at the conclusion of each story, which I don't find necessary, but I'm certain many will find these most helpful. This book is a bargain!
-Byron C. Justice, author of
and Violent Night