Arnold Lobel is probably my favorite children’s book author, and a master at generating philosophically suggestive narratives. The Frog and Toad books, in particular, are full of stories that raise many puzzles about life and experience.

One of my favorites is the story “Shivers,” in Days With Frog and Toad. Frog tells Toad a ghost story and Toad interrupts several times to ask things like, “Are you making this up?” and “Is this a true story?”At the end of Frog’s story, Frog and Toad are scared and are “having the shivers,” which, Lobel writes, “was a good, warm feeling.”

Can being scared be a “good, warm feeling?” Why do people like scary stories and films? Is it fun to be scared? When we feel scared, say,  listening to a story or watching a film, are we really scared? (We don’t call the police or scream for help.) Are we just enjoying the idea of being scared? What is it we experience when we read scary books or watch horror movies?

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