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.