Beware the Snowman by R.L. Stine

(Goosebumps, #51)

Jaclyn used to live with her aunt Greta in Chicago. But not anymore. They've moved to a place called Sherpia. It's a tiny village on the edge of the Arctic Circle. Jaclyn can't believe she's stuck out in Nowheresville. No movie theaters. No malls. No nothing. Plus, there's something really odd about the village.

At night there are strange howling noises. And in front of every house there's a snowman. A creepy snowman with a red scarf. A deep scar on his face. And a really evil smile. . . .

Another leftover from my son's Christmas book stash. There's something fun and magical about Goosebumps, I don't care how old a person is. If you read them when you were younger, you may remember them fondly like I do. Following up with a TV show that held some ventriloquist-twisted chills and even an amusement ride, these just embody the word "cool."

 Of course this was a quick read for me. It's short, it's written for a young audience, and it's also sadly predictable. This wasn't the best representation of how fun the Goosebump series can be for children. The story is clever enough and has some imagination to it, but Stine laid the cheese pretty thickly. Yes of course the cover and the plotline should say that clearly, but he overdid it some.

 The ending cliffhangers at each chapter were overdone too, but again for that age group this can be expected. I've read other books like this in other series now and they don't have to rely so heavily on false cliffhangers that end up being friends sneaking up, branches, and nothing really there at all. The empty suspense makes this a bit less enjoyable for ALL age groups, especially since all can recognize the pattern and not think there's going to be much suspense. And that ending? Well, I didn't expect that one at all, threw a complete curveball at me. Or would that be snowball? Haha, I can be cheesy and fun too.

Parents, the book isn't bad and should be fine to read. For that age group there are some eerie parts toward the end, so it's hard to rate for you because it would depend on how sensitive your children are to creepiness factors. There is almost zero violence, less than some of the other Goosebumps.

This little book completely fit into the December reading for obvious reasons. Go, Frosty, Go! Or whatever the snowmans name was.

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