What Books Are Too Scary or Violent for Kids?
Still, not all violence and scary events in storybooks are seen as a good thing. For kids ages 8 and up, the Harry Potter series gets Dr. Sipe's thumbs-up: "The stories take place in a moral universe, where evil is punished or at least fought against." On the other hand, tales that don't reward good over evil get his thumbs-down: "When the violence is gratuitous and evil sometimes wins out, kids are left with the frightening feeling that the horror goes on."
Likewise, not all children enjoy frightful tales. On the whole, however, kids tend to be less disturbed by scary books than by scary movies. One reason: Books are less graphic. The illustrations in Little Red Riding Hood, for example, never show the wolf actually eating Grandma. Another reason: Young children who are being read to usually feel safe in a parent's lap.