The book--or one character, really--scared my son to shaking! If you haven't read it (or it's just been a really long time), the premise is this (from Amazon):
The kids in Room 207 take advantage of their teacher's good nature until she disappears and they are faced with a substitute.And that subsitute is one Viola Swamp. I thought about putting her picture on this post, but, honestly, she scares me, too! The cartoon is dark, menacing, ugly...everything you want in a witch! But, if you want to see her for yourself, click here.
The scariness of the antagonist actually takes away from the plot for its audience! Now, I know this book has pleased generations, even making it to DVD and the stage. But in our house, she is now banned. I agree with my son--she's too scary!
So my question today is this: how do you find balance? How do you make your antagonist someone readers can understand and feel for, but still fear? Is that important to you?
Alternately, here is another set of questions: Have you ever had a childhood favorite come back to bite you? Did it surprise you when you read it as an adult, leave you wondering why it was a favorite back then?
Oh, and we have two Viola Swamp books if anyone wants them.