Goosebumps: The Beast From the East

By R. L. Stine; Scholastic Books, 1996; pp. 118

Plot: What could be more frightening than being separated from your parents in the woods and being pursued by a herd of 10-feet-tall alien creatures that want to play tag—for keeps. If you’re still it when the sun goes down, yum, you are the treat. What could be more frightening? Maybe being lost with your twin brothers, then separated from one and they other already captured and dangling from a cage. And the creatures tell you the rules piecemeal. And, you’re it … and the sun is going down.

Genre: Fiction

Reading Level: Ages 9 to 12

Review: OK, so I was expecting formulaic pap, but in fact, it’s pretty darn good. (I’ve never read a Goosebump title, so maybe they are formulaic.) But this one was maybe even scary at times, and the ending, well, don’t let me ruin it. This story is pretty tried and true—outsmart a predator or become prey by sundown, but the tension is palpable as the creatures named Spork and Fleg are in hot slathering, knuckle-dragging pursuit and they clumsily outwit Ginger and her twin brothers. Tag will never seem innocent again.

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