Goosebumps, as I discovered when I went to see if I could find it, is not a book. It is a collection – and quite a big collection at that – of scary stories aimed at children up to about the pre-teen years. As such, I’m not sure how it got onto the Big Read list which was supposed (I think) to be individual books.

Anywho, I had no intention of reading the lot so I picked one more or less at random, hoping it would be representative…

The Werewolf of Fever Swamp

Grady and his family move to live by a swamp, so that his father can study swamp deer. Weird and scary things start to happen – howling noises at night, animal carcasses found ripped to shreds, a missing neighbour. Cassie, the girl who lives over the road, keeps saying there is a werewolf and everyone else says that Grady’s new dog is the culprit. Grady is determined to exculpate his dog and find out what is really going on.

I get the feeling that, for the targeted audience, these books are great. They certainly seem to be very popular. But I’m afraid to say that they are, if this example was anything to go by, pulp fiction, trash novels, penny dreadfuls. Whatever you want to call them.

Written to a formula, with frequent and obvious use of hooks and other devices, this book held little to interest the grown-up reader. Sorry. I wanted to like it, but I didn’t. My quality test for a children’s book is to ask myself how many times I could read it. With this book, the answer was “No more than once”.

Here’s an Amazon link.
I actually bought this one, from a local bookshop (cheaper than Amazon!) I thought it would be the sort of thing that my library of children’s books was missing. I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t better, so I’m not sure if it will stay!

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