This was an interesting attempt to recapture the magic of the A.A. Milne classics. I went into it with an open mind, but almost immediately couldn'tThis was an interesting attempt to recapture the magic of the A.A. Milne classics. I went into it with an open mind, but almost immediately couldn't help but be struck by the stark differences in the writing styles. David Benedictus nearly hits the mark from time to time in his writing, but more often makes the characters a bit too aggressive, or a bit too overbearing and the result is an odd sort of shadow of the original that never entirely hits the moralistic nearly philosophical stance of Pooh.
One of the biggest problems with the book, for me, was the introduction of Lottie the otter. While adding a new character is not a bad idea - Tigger was new in the second book, after all - Lottie quickly becomes the star of the show. Lottie can do no wrong, and comes off as rather snobbish and with little to temper that character. Too often the characters are in awe of her, and then take a backseat to her; instead of it being the characters learning to deal with Lottie, it's 'isn't Lottie wonderful'? Additionally, Lottie isn't Christopher Robin's, but rather an actual otter... which destroys too much of the liminal space that Pooh is meant to occupy.
There were aspects of the book I enjoyed, foremost of which was the ending. Some of the stories hit the mark rather nicely, and I am by no means against the idea of people further contributing to the Pooh canon. Personally, I just feel that books such as The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet better captured the spirit of the original and the attraction of simplicity. Nevertheless, this will certainly be a book that children love and the illustrations are wonderful....more
This is it, folks. The final book in the original Goosebumps series. Number 62. It's been a wild ride. Finishing this book marks the completion of a lThis is it, folks. The final book in the original Goosebumps series. Number 62. It's been a wild ride. Finishing this book marks the completion of a life-long goal of mine. It's crazy that I didn't do this sooner, but now, with pride, I can claim to have read the full of the original series. Do I go on to Goosebumps 2000? Perhaps. But for now, I can rest with my first goal complete.
Evan Ross, Andy, and distressingly Kermit are back. Evan is watching Kermit for ten days while his parents are out of town. Why he needs to babysit/is getting paid to babysit when Aunt Dee is there is uncertain. But for now, he's watching Kermit and responsible for that child's actions. Naturally, Kermit is wrecking havoc once more. When, one night, Kermit dumps the can of Monster Blood that Andy brings over out, disaster strikes. This isn't green Monster Blood, no, this is blue Monster Blood. This one creates creatures, evil creatures with a thirst for water that makes them multiply. Each time they multiply, they get meaner. WHAT DO?
So, yeah, the Monster Blood books never really did much for me from the start. In this book's favor, the multiplying creatures were a lot more interesting than just making things bigger, which was pretty played out by the end of the first book. This book also had the benefit of making Kermit a bit more mature in its favor, and Evan just a bit less stupid. It was a quick, entertaining read, and with less obnoxious characters not the slog that Monster Blood III turned out to be.
So, all in all not a terrible end to a generally amusing kid's series....more
One of the amusing things about my Goosebumps journey is that I'm coming across books I genuinely didn't recall reading. It's only when I get to certaOne of the amusing things about my Goosebumps journey is that I'm coming across books I genuinely didn't recall reading. It's only when I get to certain scenes that I remember having read the book before, and then the nostalgia comes rushing back in. This is one of those books. Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, this is one of the hardest Goosebumps books to find now as it didn't get reprinted in any of the classic Goosebumps runs. So. Good luck finding it, and read it at your own risk.
Marco is out playing softball with some friends when a girl, Gwynnie, accidentally hits him in the head with her bat. What follows is one of the most disturbing and disgusting Goosebumps books I've ever read. Dream and reality mix and mingle - the protagonist can't tell what's real and what's fiction, and honestly, the reader can't either. It's only in the moments when a character reaches into their mouth and begins pulling their organs out by the tongue that you realize something is seriously wrong... or what about when the main character nearly gets his tongue ripped out but instead it keeps coming, a disgusting pile of ribbon like muscle? This book is messed up, but you just keep reading, even through the cringing.
I'm really torn about how many stars to give it. It's a unique book, a disgusting book, a twisted little foray into horror that I can't deny left a clear impression on me when I first read it, and even more of one now. It very well might deserve more stars and I might need to revisit it for that, but... Yeah. Definitely not a Goosebumps title to miss and unfortunately one that has likely gotten lost over the years due to lack of reprints.
Just. Ugh. For once the thrills and chills were real....more
Since I began my Goosebumps read through I've been looking forward to reading Werewolf Skin. It isn't a Goosebump book I'd read before, and having beSince I began my Goosebumps read through I've been looking forward to reading Werewolf Skin. It isn't a Goosebump book I'd read before, and having been disappointed with my adult read through of The Werewolf of Fever Swamp I was hopeful that this series would have at least one good werewolf book. Luckily, Werewolf Skin exceeded my expectations and proved to be a very enjoyable read. I could see how it would be a pretty darn frightening book for a child, and how the twist would likely shock them - though as an adult it's an easy one to see coming.
Alex Hunter is staying with his aunt and uncle for a few weeks while his parents are away on a business trip. Luckily, he's excited about it. He wants to be a photographer, and his aunt and uncle are both professionals in that business, and Wolf Creek offers ample opportunity for good photos that the city just doesn't. The only trouble is something weird is going on in Wolf Creek. It seems everyone there believes in werewolves, and there's the Marling's, who seem to be going out every night...
This is a suspenseful werewolf story, and it brings the gore in a way Werewolf of Fever Swamp didn't. It helps that this book also features, you know, werewolves and explains R.L. Stine's take on the mythos. The skepticism that Alex has towards it, his slow turn to belief - it's fun to read. Even more fun is the descriptions of how he feels being hunted. So, this would go on my Best of Goosebumps list, and I'm happy I finally got to read it!...more
This was a Goosebumps book that stuck with me. I remembered it fairly clearly, from the twist at the end to the creepiness of the elevator that movesThis was a Goosebumps book that stuck with me. I remembered it fairly clearly, from the twist at the end to the creepiness of the elevator that moves sideways. I've been eager to reread it from the start due to how fundamentally it scared me in the first read through. Surprisingly, this book was not so much colored by nostalgia as it was a genuinely good book. This was a great relief after the disappointment of The Werewolf of Fever Swamp. My only real complaint is that I wish this book had been longer...
Tommy has been displaced since his dad re-married and they moved into his new mom's house. A new mom, a new town, a new school - he really doesn't feel like he fits in. In an attempt to make new friends he joins the Dance Decoration Committee and becomes decently close with Ben and a girl named Thalia. While looking for some tape the night of the dance he gets lost in the halls of the school with Ben, and they come across a mysterious elevator. Where will it take them? Will they get back? Welcome to my favorite Goosebumps book.
The idea of Greyworld is a brilliant one. There's something deeply creepy about the lack of all color and how it affects people. The feral kids are downright terrifying, and the setting is like something out of Silent Hill. I love the mystery of it, and was genuinely surprised the first read through by which kid it was who had escaped Greyworld, and just how they might try to get back. I wish this book had been longer, but plot-wise it's inventive, I cared about the characters and think Tommy is one of the better protagonists in the Goosebumps series. I honestly don't have a bad thing to say about this book....more
I'm nearing the end of my Goosebumps read-through and it is rapidly becoming quite the rocky ride. I'm not certain just how many of the books were ghoI'm nearing the end of my Goosebumps read-through and it is rapidly becoming quite the rocky ride. I'm not certain just how many of the books were ghostwritten, a true Goosebumps aficianado I'm sure could tell you that, but the quality has definitely gone downhill. While some of the previous books included things such as - character development, suspense, and a decently linear plot with a cringe-worthy ending, this book had no such thing. It was action from the get-go, and little of the classic 90s conservationism that made Deep Trouble an altogether decent read.
We're back with the Deeps on Dr. Deep's ship in the Caribbean. Where before they had discovered mermaids, this book ignores that pretty much entirely and no mermaid makes an appearance. No, this story is about something different - and that something isn't even the teased sea serpent from the first book. Nope. This book is about various marine creatures eating plankton and growing to shocking sizes which... isn't really that compelling.
There's no real characterization, and the giant sea-creatures aren't really that threatening. There's no rhyme or reason as to why some grow and others don't, nor why Dr. Deep was unaware that another scientist was working in the same area he was staying in. The action is pretty mediocre, and although the characters carried over from the first book, I didn't really relate to or like any of them. This book was just a mess....more
And so I continue my life-long dream of reading and reviewing every Goosebumps book from the original series. I'm nearing the end, and the quality ofAnd so I continue my life-long dream of reading and reviewing every Goosebumps book from the original series. I'm nearing the end, and the quality of the books is somewhat wavering. After a brief respite, I'm going to try to dash to that distant finish line.
Sammy and his friend Roxanne are both obsessed with ghosts. Unfortunately for Sammy, he's about to meet a ghost of a sort. Brent, an invisible boy, decides to take up residence in Sammy's room in order to make Sammy his new best friend. Unfortunately, Sammy is stupid enough to tell Roxanne about this invisible friend and the process of Sammy's stupidity ruining his life/Brent trying to help him with things and making things worth begins.
My Best Friend is Invisible is one of those books that both would work better as a TV show or film and.. wouldn't work better as one. It would work better since the action is primarily visual and scenes like the ghost sequence in Hedge House just.. work better on a screen and can be properly paced there. It wouldn't work better due to the eye-roll inducing twist at the end. All in all, not the best or most compelling Goosebumps book and the twist at the end just sealed its mediocrity.
Well, it's been a wild ride, guys. When I went to reread Bunnicula I only had the vague idea that a sequel existed, and never imagined the series wouWell, it's been a wild ride, guys. When I went to reread Bunnicula I only had the vague idea that a sequel existed, and never imagined the series would be 7 books long. I also never imagined the the series would be such a beautiful, and ultimately effective series at detailing how people change over time and some of the deeper ways relationships evolve. It's a great series from start to finish, and one I'm glad kids have. Bunnicula Meets Edgar Allan Crow was a beautiful end to it all, and a great book about writing.
When Pete wins the FleshCrawlers write-in contest and gets M.T. Graves to visit his town nobody expected that he'd want to stay with them, nor that he'd bring along his faithful companion Edgar Allan Crow. Chester, knee-deep in his own neurotic tendencies, things there's something off with the author. Graves seems to have taken an unhealthy interest in Bunnicula, after all, and why is it every animal in the FleshCrawlers series ends up a victim. Could he be up to no good? And beyond that, just what's in the bag he won't let anyone touch, and what does he mean when he says he writes from his own personal experiences...?
This is a good book about writing, and how much people change over time. I was touched by revelation about Graves, and more than a little moved by the whole Edgar Allan Crow arc. The Editor's Notes, likewise, were read with just a touch of melancholy as it now truly is over. Harold is getting old, after all, and change isn't always a bad thing. We learn, and we grow, and somehow we always tend to get by all right.
What a great journey for anyone willing to take it. I'm so glad books exist....more
This book was an even quicker read than Return to Howliday Inn, but it was a charming one. It's interesting to see how the family dynamics evolve froThis book was an even quicker read than Return to Howliday Inn, but it was a charming one. It's interesting to see how the family dynamics evolve from book to book, and how much everyone's lives, including the Editor's, change. There's a note of finality to the book, a looming knowledge that the end may indeed be near. Seeing how even the story being read to Harold in the beginning is "The Final Problem" you go in knowing disaster will happen before the end.
Chester is at it again. Bunnicula is getting ill, and doesn't seem to be getting better. Chester assures Harold and Howie that he's "taking care of it" and Harold has had enough. Chester may be his friend, but so is Bunnicula, and too long he's gone along with the various plans to destroy the vampire rabbit. It's time for him to stand up for what he knows is right - but at what cost?
This book continues the somewhat darker themes that were first established in Return to Howliday Inn. While there are still plenty of laughs, the subject matter does tend to be darker than what I expected, and the moral questions a bit more potent still. I enjoyed it immensely, though ultimately I wish it was longer. Just can't get enough of these characters....more
Harold, Chester, and Howie are at it again and once more Bunnicula is just in the wings. The Monroe's are away on a vacation, and somehow seem perfectHarold, Chester, and Howie are at it again and once more Bunnicula is just in the wings. The Monroe's are away on a vacation, and somehow seem perfectly comfortable leaving their pets at the very boarding location that before nearly resulted in dognapping and police intervention. It's safe now, you say? Not so fast. Terror always awaits in the Bunnicula books, as well as delicious mysteries and very heartwarming twists and turns.
Once more in Chataeu Bow-Wow, the gang encounters a new cast of fascinating characters. There's Felony and Miss Demeanor, two unsavory 'cat burgling' cats. The Weasel, an aptly named mustelid. Lily and Bob, two upper-class dogs, and the deeply depressed Great Dane Hamlet. There's also a mysterious pile of bones uncovered along with a collar with the name Rosebud on it... and alas, this poor Yorkie was one Hamlet knew well.
While this mystery isn't nearly the depth that the first Howliday Inn was, the action is fast-paced and full of interesting twists and turns. It's a quick read, and a more charming one than I expected. I thoroughly enjoyed it, for all of its rushed pace and conclusion, and can see where a child would love it even more since it lacks the build that made Howliday Inn a joy when I read it, and a bore to younger audiences....more
I'm likely a blasphemer for shelving this book under 'Children's Book' but what can I do. I grew up on this series, as I'm sure many did, and I turnedI'm likely a blasphemer for shelving this book under 'Children's Book' but what can I do. I grew up on this series, as I'm sure many did, and I turned out reasonably all right. Sure, I was scared stiff by the contents and illustrations in the third book in this series, but that never permanently hurt anyone, right? These books had a special place in my childhood, as they did for many. If anyone is new coming into these books MAKE SURE YOU GET THE FIRST EDITION COPIES. The reprinted editions do not have Stephen Gammell's illustrations, which takes away most of the uneasy allure of these books. Gammell is a must.
While originally these books contained for me unspeakable terrors, now I'm more interested in the notes at the back of the book. I admire Alvin Schwartz for the work that he's done. Intentionally, very intentionally, he taught multiple generations of children classic folktales, well-sourced and well remembered, and created in us an unbroken chain of children growing up with stories from the 1920s, the 1800s, and sometimes even older. He gave us a taste of the past that, thanks to Stephen Gammell's haunting illustrations, was every bit as haunting as it likely was when first spoken around a fire or in the cool of the night.
This first collection is split into thirds. Stories to be told aloud as they contain jump-scares (great for telling, not so interesting for reading), ghost stories (many classics), stories involving the many faces of death, urban legends, and finally... funny stories. The funny stories were the ones I remembered best from this collection - in particular The Viper, which I shamelessly retold throughout my childhood to fits of laughter.
Five stars for the illustration, a very nice three for the contents. These books age well and I dearly hope are now terrifying a new generation as they should be....more
It's always interesting revisiting children's books once you're grown. While I didn't have the pleasure of reading through the whole of the BunniculaIt's always interesting revisiting children's books once you're grown. While I didn't have the pleasure of reading through the whole of the Bunnicula series as a child, I did greatly enjoy the first book of it. Now, reading through the rest of the series as an adult to complete it all, I'm having the time of my life. These are definitely great books for kids and would have only been more enjoyable then than they are now. Though, to be fair, reading them as an adult I can get some of the literary references that likely would have gone over my head as a child. Friday the Thirteenth and Stephen King in general, anyone?
Nighty-Nightmare is a Bunnicula book of which the rabbit is only talked about rather than present. Why, you may ask? Because the family is on a camping trip and only brought Harold, Chester, and Howie along. Also, as a note to new readers, definitely take the time to read the editor's note at the beginning of each book - they are part of the story and greatly enjoyable. I love how they evolve. Back to the plot. So, on this camping trip they meet the mysterious strangers Bud, Spud, and their dog named Dawg and soon are on a small hike in the woods with them... at night... with a storm threatening. Chester's imagination runs wild, and soon even Harold agrees something nefarious just might be afoot!
This book was greatly enjoyable for me. I liked the creepy atmosphere of the woods, the absurd colloquial writing of Bud, Spud, and Dawg's speech, and the overall rhythm of the story itself. It seems like it is a book that was written to be read aloud, especially Chester's story near the middle of it. Chester himself was wonderful in this book, and there was even a heartwarming scene at the beginning in the form of a conversation between Mr. Monroe and Harold. Overall, this series has been fantastic. I love that time passes in it, that character's grow and evolve and their relationships change. It's a surprisingly mature thread to weave through children's books and I admire James Howe for the masterful way in which he spun it....more
Bunnicula is a true classic of children's literature. There's just something appealing about a vampire rabbit, right? As much as I adored that book w Bunnicula is a true classic of children's literature. There's just something appealing about a vampire rabbit, right? As much as I adored that book when I was young, I don't recall even knowing there were sequels - much less reading them myself. I'm remedying that situation now, and thankfully so far they have all proven to be incredibly fun and entertaining reads. Which brings us to the third book in the Bunnicula adventures: The Celery Stalks at Midnight!
This book, as the others do, follow the adventures of Bunnicula's friends rather than the rabbit itself. Yes, Bunnicula is mentioned and often some chaos travels from him, but the true heroes of the stories are always Harold the dog, Chester the cat, and now the new addition to the family Howie the pupper. Howie's puns were a bit grating on me, but I'm sure for a younger reader he'd likely be hitting home in terms of 'fun new addition.' The Celery Stalks at Midnight revolves around Chester's revelation that vampires create more vampires by biting people on the neck. Doesn't that mean that all the vegetables Bunnicula has drained of their juices may be vampire-zombie vegetables? Better get staking. Armed with toothpicks, our heroes venture out into the town in order to complete this grisly task.
Chester is a bit more ridiculous than usual in this book, which is pretty much fine because the entire notion of vampiric vegetables is just beyond ridiculous. I was thoroughly entertained by it all, and like the previous entries in this series, the book had great vocabulary and a well constructed plot. It's a worthy read, and definitely amusing, if a bit more juvenile in tone than the first two books were....more
I have a deep and abiding love for Bunnicula so I was delighted to learn that the book was not merely a book. No, it was a series. While I don't thinI have a deep and abiding love for Bunnicula so I was delighted to learn that the book was not merely a book. No, it was a series. While I don't think I'll delve into all of the spin-off series, I definitely want to read the whole of the initial run. It was to my excitement and pleasure that I read this sequel to Bunnicula and found it every bit as fantastic as the first book.
Howliday Inn follows the theme of the first Bunnicula book in setting up a mystery that needs to be solved. Where this book succeeds and differs from the original is that it sets up a firm murder mystery and follows the classic noir set up. The murderer? He could be anyone. Everyone has motive here at Chataeu Bow-Wow, from the dog residents to the crazed cat resident to the very humans working there. And are those werewolves in the distance? By creating a firm noir set up we veer away from the supernatural and get to enjoy the complicated threads of the mystery.
This is a longer book than I expected, and a far more complex one. I was delighted reading it, and am sure younger readers would enjoy it as well. It pleases me that James Howe doesn't pull many punches and spices the book up with more complex vocabulary, while simultaneously defining it and pointing out when characters are using the words erroneously. This is an exciting book, and a pretty great children's mystery. A worthy successor to Bunnicula with plenty of laughs....more
My friend Carolyn recommended me this book in a fashion. I had showed her Dr. Hedgehog's River Rescue, which got us on the topic of children's booksMy friend Carolyn recommended me this book in a fashion. I had showed her Dr. Hedgehog's River Rescue, which got us on the topic of children's books and some of the stranger ones that we encountered growing up. When she mentioned the book The Attic Mice being largely told from the perspective of a chestnut I didn't exactly believe her. After settling into her new apartment and finding the book, however, she proved me wrong. This book is, indeed, largely told from the perspective of a chestnut named Little-Good-For-Nothing. Somehow, it still manages to be utterly fantastic.
The Attic Mice begins with the chestnut being gathered (and named) by a human family. While they soon forget about him, he ends up in the attic where the mice find a multitude of uses for him. He could be a footstool, a hockey puck, a doorstop, or a paper-weight. Briefly, they even fight over him, making him feel very important indeed. He even fulfills his life's ambition of being on a Christmas wreath! The real joy, however, comes from exploring the life of the Attic Mice. While none of them are particularly good role models (here's looking at you, Omeletta and Chester), the family itself is a beautiful thing. They understand each other, and they care about each other even though they are very different people. By the end of the book you love that little family and are cheering for them as they overcome their all too understandable disagreements.
This is a great book that teaches tolerance and love of others, however different you may be. This shows that even if you and your siblings don't get along beneath it all there is still love. Everyone has their good qualities, everyone has their own wants and needs and perspective. It's a loving little story with beautiful illustrations (and occasionally ridiculous ones) that even had me giggling at some points. It's a book I'd love to see more children read, as I do believe it is a classic in its own right.
The Dragons of Blueland is the third book in the My Father's Dragon trilogy. The first book I read when I was a child, and I much cherished the copy The Dragons of Blueland is the third book in the My Father's Dragon trilogy. The first book I read when I was a child, and I much cherished the copy I had of it. I can't count how many times I read it, but it was a constant companion as I was growing up and probably is still among my possessions somewhere. The book is a great tool for the imagination, and as I happily found out today the remaining two books in the trilogy are all as equally wonderful.
This book follows in the footsteps of Elmer and the Dragon with the dragon endeavoring to return to his homeland of Blueland. He arrives home, but much to his dismay, finds humans have invaded the Spiky Mountains and trapped his family within a cave! He rushes back to Elmer for help, and together they devise a plan to hopefully free the dragon's family before it's too late and they're shipped off to zoos and circuses.
The brilliant illustrations continue to titillate the imagination, and the dragon's mad flight is a delight to read. The dragon's family, while figuring little in the book, is likewise wonderful and the illustrations were enough to make me laugh. I loved the wholesomeness of the book, the charming character of the old alley cat, and just how sweetly it all came together. There's something wonderful in these books and the innocence they hold and it's truly no wonder to me at all that the trilogy itself is considered a classic. ...more
This is the second book in the My Father's Dragon trilogy. The first book was one of my favorites as a child, and I never knew there were sequels untThis is the second book in the My Father's Dragon trilogy. The first book was one of my favorites as a child, and I never knew there were sequels until I finally decided to review it here on GoodReads. To my delight, this sequel was every bit as sweet and entertaining as the first entry. The artwork was even just as pleasing. While this book did not have the same nostalgic quality as the first to me, it still brought me along on a brilliant adventure with Elmer and the dragon I love so well.
This book picks up immediately where the last ends, with Elmer and the Dragon on their quest to return to Elmer's home. On the way they encounter a treacherous storm which blows them completely off course. They find themselves on Feather Island, the place all canaries go when they are lost or fly away, and discover the island's terrible secret. Every canary upon it is dying of the worst possible plague... curiosity! Naturally, Elmer decides to help out.
The book is incredibly sweet and entertaining. I can imagine reading it to a child, and would have thoroughly devoured it the same countless number of times I did the first. There is a sweet innocence to it that is difficult to describe but immediately recognizable the moment you see it. I loved this book, as I did the first, and I can't wait to meet The Dragons of Blueland now that the Dragon himself is about to return home....more
"Don't ask me silly questions, I won't play silly games. I'm just a simple choo-choo train, and I'll always be the same. I only want to race along, bene"Don't ask me silly questions, I won't play silly games. I'm just a simple choo-choo train, and I'll always be the same. I only want to race along, beneath the bright blue sky, and be a happy choo-choo train, until the day I die."
Sarah doesn't care for Camp Cold Lake. She doesn't really like swimming, nor nature, and would rather have spent her summer relaxing or playing with friends. Instead, she's stuck with her brother at a camp where she doesn't really get along with anyone. At first, the meanness of the other campers seems a bit justified. She exposes a girl's asthma when she wants to keep it secret, is a terror about bunking situations, and generally having a bad attitude towards life. When she starts trying to make amends, however, the meanness only doubles down. Finally, she resorts to a last ditch strategy to fake drowning to make the other campers feel bad for her. Only, while faking, she goes a bit too far and meets a ghost that wants to be her camp buddy... forever.
This book was interesting to me because it highlighted the very real issue of cliques and not belonging. The isolation that Sarah felt, while initially deserved, was continued long after it should have been and resulted in her resorting to equally terrible extremes to deal with it. The feelings she felt were ones a lot of people could resort to, and I felt that there was a lesson to be learned from this even though it was wrapped up in layers of typical Goosebumps silliness....more
This is one of those Goosebumps book whose cover I would see everywhere, and that I immediately got the reference to. Who didn't giggle at the thoughtThis is one of those Goosebumps book whose cover I would see everywhere, and that I immediately got the reference to. Who didn't giggle at the thought of The Blob? It's an absurd concept, and apparently one that 'Zackie', the protagonist of this book, believes is wholly original.
Zackie wants to be a famous horror writer. He spends a lot of his spare time making up stories, but apparently the idea of a wholly original story is a bit beyond him. All of his stories involve his town and his friends, particularly his best friends Alex and Adam. When he happens to find an antique typewriter that makes everything he writes come true, well, the Blob Monster that he originally imagined becomes a bit of a problem for everyone.
This book was entertaining, but the main character's idiocy somewhat got in the way of me actually enjoying it. It took Zackie too long to realize the power of the typewriter, and ultimately when he did the ways he used it seemed poorly conceived. I think the book would have been better served by gong in a slightly different direction than him typing the town's destruction and being surprised when it came to pass, let alone the actual ending......more
Here is another Goosebumps book I believe I originally read as a kid. The details of the book itself largely eluded me, but I recalled the cover wellHere is another Goosebumps book I believe I originally read as a kid. The details of the book itself largely eluded me, but I recalled the cover well enough to know I originally read it. This book is somewhat like a Twilight Zone lite - filled with the moralizing of "It could be worse" and not fully resolved come the end of the book itself.
Matt is the youngest of three children. His mom, forced to work two jobs, often leaves him in the care of his older brother and sister who aren't too enamored with the task. They tease him relentlessly, which eventually pushes him to his breaking point. Who could blame him? Even the dog hates him. Irritated with his life situation and the fact he is forced into the smallest room in the house, Matt rebels by sneaking into the guest room to sleep for one night. When he wakes up in the morning, everything has changed. It seems that every time he wakes up now everything has changed. What's going on?
This is entertaining sort of What If? book. The lack of resolution mars the story somewhat, but the base concept is still entertaining. It was a quick read, gave me a decent number of chuckles, and the main character, at least, wasn't as grating as he could have been. Definitely would be a fun book for a kid to read....more
Will I ever finish my Goosebumps read through? Probably.
Chicken Chicken is widely regarded as the worst of the Goosebumps books. I didn't know thisWill I ever finish my Goosebumps read through? Probably.
Chicken Chicken is widely regarded as the worst of the Goosebumps books. I didn't know this when I first picked it up as a child and eagerly devoured it, but reading it as an adult it's rather easy to see why it has garnered such disdain. Aside from the slightly disturbing cover there are a number of problems with the text... The biggest of which is that the story is just plain cruel.
This is Farmland, USA. What do you do when you're two kid displaced from the Big City to live in the middle of Nowhere with Return to Nature parents? Apparently harass the mysterious woman living in town who wears all black, has a black cat, and may or may not be a witch. Why do innocent pranks when you can fill her mailbox with water? Why exactly are you surprised when she gets irritated that you've been harassing her for some time and decides to put a curse on you? In this case, to turn you and your brother (who, typical of R.L. Stine books has no redeeming values) into chickens.
The trouble with this book is that it comes off as much less playful than the other Goosebumps titles. Normally there is a sense of justice to them, however twisted (here's looking at you Calling All Creeps) it is. In this title the punishment isn't entirely fitting the crime, and there isn't much of a laugh to be had at the end when you know the cycle is liable to repeat itself. It's a somewhat horrific transformation of fiends into fowl that you can't rightly imagine the adults just ignoring or not noticing in the first place. This reads a bit like a first draft that never really adequately evolved into something more....more
This is another book from out of my childhood, and this one I largely remembered. I wasn't overly fond of the book then, nor am I now, but it stuck wiThis is another book from out of my childhood, and this one I largely remembered. I wasn't overly fond of the book then, nor am I now, but it stuck with me if only for the novelty of flying. Which... yeah, that's the whole point of the book, I suppose.
Jack Johnson is a bit of a loser. He's obsessed with this girl, Mia, who prefers the more macho behavior of Wilson. Wilson is the bane of young Jack's existence, the living embodiment of "anything you can do I can do better." This competition is largely one-sided until finally Wilson pushes it too far, publicly humiliating Jack in front of Mia at her birthday party. Jack runs from the house in his woe, goes to an abandoned shack, and finds a book called Flying Lessons about how humans can learn to fly. Naturally, he then decides to learn how.. This will show Wilson, of course.
Or will it?
How I Learned to Fly, while being a ridiculous and choppy book, does succeed in having what is possibly the very best of the Goosebumps ending. It's a great twist, and a great moral lesson in the end. While I can't really recommend the book, I'll always be fond of it for its ending....more
This book was everything I wished The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena was from page one. While it lacked the fearsome crevasse scene (all too quicklyThis book was everything I wished The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena was from page one. While it lacked the fearsome crevasse scene (all too quickly resolved in the other book), it made up for it with better snow descriptions, the fearsome ice cave, the general feel of seclusion and superstition that permeates so many small towns. The only thing I wish this book had done more was emphasize just how killer the cold can be.
Our main character is transported, largely to her chagrin, by her aunt to the town of Sherpia which is...somewhere. The town is tiny, a sharp contrast to Chicago, and covered in these weird sinister Snowmen. Plus, there's a strange hermit and his wolf living on the mountain, legends of a killer Snowman and sorcery, and the not so small matter of an odd poem that can't be forgotten back from the vestiges of childhood.
Beware, the Snowman managed to be a good Goosebumps book by relying more on the unseen than the seen. For the bulk of the book the Snowman is nothing but a specter, unlike the pumpkin heads in Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns. The Snowman becomes scary through the legends that are told and the insular climate, which succeeds fairly well considering. Definitely would recommend this one to kids....more
This is one of the Goosebumps that I actually remembered reading as a child. The cover was fun - it had dinosaurs on it - and I recalled the contentsThis is one of the Goosebumps that I actually remembered reading as a child. The cover was fun - it had dinosaurs on it - and I recalled the contents as being rather amusing. What I didn't recall, or perhaps even realize as a kid, was just how disturbing the book actually was. Likely without realizing it, R.L. Stine wrote a rather good book detailing just how devastating the effects of bullying can be. In a post Columbine culture, with school shootings widely reported on, this book can raise more than a little it of unease in the older reader.
Our main character, Rick, is being mercilessly bullied by the bulk of the school. He's set up in a variety of ways, blamed for the actions of other, mocked mercilessly, and even beat up relatively often. Ricky the Rodent, Sicky Ricky, creep, jerk - the insults abound, and continue unabated even as he's trying to impress the new girl. Unsurprisingly, pushed past his limit, he decides to get revenge on Tasha - the author of many of his woes. Unfortunately, she's onto him, and thwarts his little addition to the front page of the paper... and Creeps, the dinosaurid Creatures on the cover, begin contacting him thinking he is their Commander.
This book is intensely creepy if only for the above-mentioned problems I listed before. Bullying, and the way it permanently damages a good number of people, is now part of our consciousness and Ricky's vow of vengeance is more a creepy sort of metaphor than the more light-hearted romp it is meant to be. I highly doubt kids would see it that way (I certainly didn't), but as an adult... well, the book is more unsettling than intended. At the very least it should open the conversation up between parent and kid on bullying and its effects, etc. which is nearly always a good thing. ...more
Vampire Breath was at least a bit better than Werewolf of Fever Swamp in that the creature existed for more than like, five pages. The Vampire was i Vampire Breath was at least a bit better than Werewolf of Fever Swamp in that the creature existed for more than like, five pages. The Vampire was introduced fairly early in and you get to see some of the classical creature actions. You also get to wonder how a vampire loses its fangs and what exactly Vampire Breath is made of if not... Vampire Breath itself. I mean, that was never really explained or made sense of. Ever.
Two pugnacious friend knock over a china cabinet and destroy priceless china therein only to discover a door, a tunnel, and a coffin with a bottle of Vampire Breath. They knock open the bottle due to more idiotic wrestling, and... COUNT NIGHTWING appears. Seriously. Count Nightwing. Are you even trying? Apparently vampires are nothing without Vampire Breath and use it to get all of their powers. I don't even know.
This book was entertaining. It was very much Vampire Lite, but it included the old castle, barred windows, and ultimately a twist at the end that made more sense than R.L. Stine's twists usually do. I was definitely entertained and giggling a fair bit throughout. Very fun sort of book for a kid. One of the better Goosebumps entries....more
Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns was a bit too much of a children's book for me to find entertaining. In R.L. Stine's words, it was "babyish." The plo Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns was a bit too much of a children's book for me to find entertaining. In R.L. Stine's words, it was "babyish." The plot was very superficial, the actions frankly ridiculous, scares nonexistent, and twist nonsensical. It was a mess of a book, an I'm surprised that there are people out there who really got into it. I mean... the Creature of this book is essentially this:
A group of kids obsessed with Halloween have, for the past two years, been shown up by two other kids. Once this included a rather cruel joke of a fake breaking and entering, the second time it was simply those two kids not showing up to the Revenge Party that had been planned. This year, however, will be different. This year, they WILL scare those other kids. Apparently with pumpkin headed monsters. Or something. TRICK OR TREAT FOREVER.
Can you see my eyes rolling from there? Jack O' Lanterns just aren't that frightening. Even the concept of pumpkin headed monsters just doesn't do it for me. I don't know if it's really just stupid or if I was just too old for it, but for me, this book fell flat from start to finish....more
A father has taken his children deep into the Brovarian forest in hopes of finding the Lost Legend. Nobody knows who wrote the Lost Legend, nor what its contents are. All they know is that apparently it exists and it is worth a great deal of money since people are so curious about it. Naturally, the two kids end up following Silverdog, the potentially worst named creature since Shaggydog, to his owners house and meet Luka the wildman and Viking Woman. Then they learn if they survive the test they can get the Lost Legend. Enter the weird fantastical world where almost everything is a wind-up toy or styrofoam and nothing is as it seems.
Legend of the Lost Legend wasn't a terrible book, but it also wasn't great. The imaginative world of giant cats and wind-up mice was pretty cool, though I think it would likely have made a better comic book or TV show than chapter book. It entertained in much the way old 80s movies did. Plenty of opportunity for expansion and fun, but ultimately little substance. Given, that is perfectly all right for a kid's book....more
Or at least a confused sort of squinting at the page as you continue reading, frustrated huffing noises, and an evReader Beware You're in for a Scare!
Or at least a confused sort of squinting at the page as you continue reading, frustrated huffing noises, and an eventual loud SIGH as you finish the book.
One of those two things. Definitely.
How to Kill a Monster remains the gold standard of Poor Parenting in Goosebumps books. While other books have included parents taking their children on dangerous adventures, not realizing their children are missing, etc. This book includes parents leaving their kids with their "eccentric" grandparents while they go on a business trip, and said grandparents then abandoning the kids in their mansion with a monster and only two notes to explain what's going on. Of course, if the kids weren't such idiots they wouldn't have released the monster in the first place and would have been content to just laze around reading, eating pie, and relaxing. But no. They had to release the monster and then figure out how to kill it.
The book isn't terrible as far as Goosebumps books go, and the penultimate twist was actually pretty amusing. The premise itself just irritated me due to the fact it required such thoughtlessness on the parts of the parents and grandparents. The swamp is presumably dangerous... so you lock the kids in the house with a monster. How is that remotely responsible? Why? I understand the need for framing narratives, but this seems a bit excessive in terms of irresponsible behavior....more
Ghost Camp was fun largely because it revolved around the ever entertaining trope of campfire stories. The stories in the book were entertaining, one of which I recall hearing at some point though I don't think I read this book before... It gave a nice, creepy atmosphere although the rest of the book was predictable as ever. I think this would be a fun book to read as a kid, or to a kid. I think it would keep a younger reader guessing until the end... where they would (hopefully) be laughing as loud as I groaned at the 'twist.'
So, yes, a very entertaining little Goosebumps book that finally broke the camp trope mold. Hooray!...more