Scared Stiff: Everything You Need to Know About 50 Famous Phobias

illus. by G. E. Gallas. 224p. appendix. further reading. index. notes. websites. Zest. Feb. 2014. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781936976492.
Gr 6 Up—A fun and insightful look at 50 phobias, some common like ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) and others unusual such as koumpounophobia (fear of buttons). Latta describes the biology of fear and explains that while some are beneficial for survival, they can become phobias if they are so severe as to interfere with everyday life. The phobias are arranged alphabetically and include explanations of the origins of their names and how the fears may have developed. Famous people who have suffered from them (Lincoln feared dentists), interesting sidebars ("scare quotes"), and pop-culture references make the volume accessible and appealing to a wide audience. Simple, abstract illustrations keep the pages from being cluttered. The easy-to-use index allows quick access to specific phobias, though most will want to read the book cover to cover. The author's lively style will certainly hold readers' attention. For those wanting to delve more deeply into the subject, the appendix provides print and web resources.—Sherry J. Mills, Hazelwood East High School, St. Louis, MO

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