It’s safe to say that Goosebumps, R. L. Stine’s super-fun-to-read scary series, turned millions of kids into readers. I remember those early days at Scholastic when we offered Welcome to Dead House for 95 cents in the Arrow Book Club to help launch the series. It took off instantly!
Everyone at Scholastic Book Clubs feels a close personal attachment to Goosebumps and its origin story. And even though personally I do not like to be scared, I loved reading Goosebumps books right from the beginning—and I still love sharing them with kids and watching them get excited about reading.
R. L. Stine was known around the halls of Scholastic, where he worked for 16 years, as “Jovial Bob Stine.” He wrote many joke books for Scholastic Book Clubs and was the editor of Bananas magazine. His future wife, Jane, was the editor of Dynamite magazine, and the two worked together to create Hot Dog! magazine as well. “It was my life’s goal to have my own national humor magazine,” Bob said in a recent interview, “and I had reached it at age 28.”
Bob was a practical joker, and the accounts of his many pranks will have to stay locked up in the Scholastic Book Clubs vault. But obviously, he has a scary side too. In 1984, then-Editor in Chief of Scholastic, Jean Feiwel, asked Jovial Bob over lunch to take a stab at writing a teen horror novel called Blind Date. It was a huge bestseller and Jovial Bob decided to focus on horror.
Bob went on to write the Fear Street series for Simon and Schuster and then returned to Scholastic to create Goosebumps, his mega-bestselling, life-changing series that turned millions of kids into readers.
I remember well those heady days in the office when we could not keep Goosebumps in stock. The printers were working overtime—shipping 3 million copies per week—and Goosebumps was spun off into many different formats.
Night of the Living Dummy—the Scholastic Book Clubs Book of the Week—was the seventh book in the original Goosebumps series, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
With more than 400 million copies in print—in 32 languages—worldwide, Goosebumps is one of the bestselling chapter book series of all time. The series has spawned television shows, films, merchandise, video games, and of course, Slappy, the series’s immensely popular villain.
“Mr. Stine devotes considerable effort to the cliff-hangers that virtually dare you to try to stop reading.” —The New York Times
“These stories will captivate any reader who likes suspense, horror, and fantasy.” —Common Sense Media
David Vozar was also in the Scholastic meetings when Goosebumps was launched. Like Bob Stine, David has some things to say about his ventriloquist dummy.
What is it about reading the Goosebumps books that kids love so much? We (along with experts) think kids like to feel scared in a safe space. A scary story is like a literary roller coaster. You buckle up and get ready for a fun ride, and when it’s over, you want to read it again and again.
And what is it about writing the Goosebumps books that still-funny R. L. Stine loves so much? His answer: “I just like to scare kids.”
Do your students want to learn even more about Goosebumps: Night of the Living Dummy and jovial puppet master R. L. Stine? Here are some resources to complement the book in the classroom:
• Watch the Book Boys Brain Break as they work together to survive a night of spooky fun and perform an original song
• Learn how a teacher uses Goosebumps: Night of the Living Dummy in the classroom in Book Talks
• Watch an exclusive video interview with author R. L. Stine in Behind the Scenes
• Download a printable activity to accompany Goosebumps: Night of the Living Dummy in Cooked Up from a Book
At Scholastic Book Clubs, we believe every child can find their identity as a reader by choosing books they want to read. That’s why in addition to the $1 Book of the Week, we’ve created spooktacular inflation-busting savings for teachers, exclusive author events, live read-aloud shows, and fun contests to get kids engaged with reading.
Thanks for reading with us!
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