R.L. Stine: Cre­ator of Creepy and Spooky Stories

Michelle Park­er-Rock
  • Review
By – July 20, 2012

R.L. Stine’s Goose­bumps series of hor­ror books for chil­dren is list­ed in the Guin­ness World Records Mil­len­ni­um Edi­tion 2000 as the world’s top-sell­ing children’s book series. To date, there have been more than 200 mil­lion Goose­bumps books pub­lished. For one of the world’s most pro­lif­ic authors of children’s books, Stine is remark­ably hum­ble, accord­ing to Michelle Park­er-Rock in this biog­ra­phy. The grand­son of Russ­ian immi­grants, he grew up in the Colum­bus, Ohio sub­urb of Bex­ley. When he was nine years old, he dis­cov­ered an old portable type­writer in the for­bid­den attic of his child­hood home. From that moment on, he was deter­mined to be a writer. Stine wrote all through high school and col­lege, and made a liv­ing in New York City by writ­ing and edit­ing mag­a­zines for chil­dren. His first lit­er­ary love was humor, but a free­lance job writ­ing hor­ror turned into his suc­cess­ful career as the cre­ator of Goose­bumps and oth­er series, includ­ing Fear Street.

Parker-Rock’s biog­ra­phy, one of the titles in the series Authors Teens Love, draws most of its infor­ma­tion from a lengthy inter­view with Stine, the tran­script of which is includ­ed at the end of the book, as well as from Stine’s 1997 auto­bi­og­ra­phy It Came From Ohio! My Life as a Writer (Scholas­tic). Except for a pho­to­graph of the 13-year-old Bob­by Stine at his bar mitz­vah and a def­i­n­i­tion in the glos­sary, there is no oth­er Jew­ish con­tent in this book. While not an impor­tant addi­tion to Jew­ish libraries, this com­pre­hen­sive biog­ra­phy is a nec­es­sary pur­chase for pub­lic and school libraries with oth­er titles in the series. Mid­dle school stu­dents and younger teens need­ing to write a report on a favorite author will be drawn to the straight­for­ward prose and the wealth of addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al, such as a help­ful time­line of Stine’s life and pub­lish­ing career, a com­plete list­ing of Stine’s spooky sto­ries, detailed chap­ter notes, and a list of websites.

Wendy Was­man is the librar­i­an & archivist at the Cleve­land Muse­um of Nat­ur­al His­to­ry in Cleve­land, Ohio.

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