Since most of my time recently has been spent limping about, dunning students for overdue books, telling teachers that I don't have any more DVD players and removing dust bunnies from overhead projectors, I'm not in a great mood. So! I'll work my way through the R. L. Stine books.
One nice thing-- Stine is easy to read. Even with mysteries, I know that I will find out eventually what will happen. The vocabulary is not a challenge. Sentence structure is simple. This is hugely important for some of our readers, and the fact that they can finish an entire book in a few days gives them a feeling of accomplishment.
That said, Attack of the Mutant is The. Worst. Book. Ever. Get this-- it's not really even R.L. Stine. It's adapted by Melinda Metz, from the screenplay by Brown and Angel, based on a novel by Stine. What? Oh. It's t.v. book #12. This book is described thusly: "It's exactly what you see on TV-- complete with pages and pages of photos from the show! It's spook-tacular." I can't go on. Reading it represents ten minutes of my life I will never get back. (It's 64 pages.)
Another Goosebumps book, The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, was a little better. Children's father is photographer who goes to Alaska to snap pictures of the creature. They eventually find it encased in ice, take it back to California, and then the creature escapes. Ok.
All-Night Party does involve a murder, and students out on a dark and desolate island where they have taken a friend for a surprise birthday party. This one I could actually recommend, and my copy is fairly new, with a nicely done Sammy Yuen cover. There are lots of clues, running about the woods, and a few twists. Fine effort.
Bad Dreams was okay as well. Girls move to Fear Street after death of father, antique bed gives girl bad dreams. There is also a lot of swim team stuff involved, which was a little odd, and (not to ruin the plot here) since the house was unoccupied for so long, how did the insane girl stay in the attic until the new family moved in? Not as good as The Secret Bedroom but better than Beach House.