Beware!: R.L. Stine Picks His Favorite Scary Stories

Beware!: R.L. Stine Picks His Favorite Scary Stories

by R. L. Stine, Various

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Dim the lights. Lock the doors. Pull down the shades -- and BEWARE! It′s time to read R.L. Stine′s favorite scary stories, plus two new tales of his own!

R.L. Stine has gathered a selection of all things scary. Short stories, tales old and new, comics, and poems. It′s a spine-tingling collection of work by dozens of

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Dim the lights. Lock the doors. Pull down the shades -- and BEWARE! It′s time to read R.L. Stine′s favorite scary stories, plus two new tales of his own!

R.L. Stine has gathered a selection of all things scary. Short stories, tales old and new, comics, and poems. It′s a spine-tingling collection of work by dozens of writers and artists who are famous for hair-raising fun.

Discover a ghastly secret in a retelling of the classic story "The Judge′s House," by Bram Stoker. Peek into a Christmas stocking that holds a shocking surprise in a Vault of Horror comic, "A Sock for Christmas." Meet an ice cream man who will chill your blood in "Mister Ice Cold" by Gahan Wilson.

But first, visit an evil carnival in "The Black Ferris," by Ray Bradbury. R.L. Stine says that this story changed his life! Find out why in his introduction. Be sure to read all the introductions -- because R.L. reveals why he picked these stories for you, why he finds them the creepiest ... the funniest ... the scariest!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The renowned horror author selects 19 nailbiting tales for Beware!: R.L. Stine Picks His Favorite Scary Stories, including "The Black Ferris" by Ray Bradbury, William Sleator's "The Elevator," a couple by Alvin Schwartz and a few by Stine himself. Each opens with a brief introduction by the Goosebumps author and includes bewitching b&w pictures by a number of illustrators. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
One can't go wrong when reading this anthology of scary stories selected by R.L. Stine. Poems, short stories, and well done illustrations line each page. Stine includes an introductory page to each selection telling why he selected the story and why he personally likes each selection. Some of the stories are unique in the fact that they date back more than five hundred years. While most of the stories are probably not appropriate for very young children¾due to the fact that these selections contain ghosts, vampires, witches, etc.¾there are a few that are cute and humorous and not too scary. I especially like "Joe is Not a Monster" and "Blood-Curdling Story." Younger children may also like the less scary selections such as "The Conjure Brother," "Haunted," and "The Witches." For older children who really like suspenseful tales I would recommend "The Surprise Guest," "The Judge's House," and "A Sock for Christmas." Overall, I feel that Stine searched for selections that he really thought highly of and by reading his introductory words and the few works of his own that he includes, one can tell that he has a knack for storytelling and certainly is aware of what kids like to read. Any child who has enjoyed Stine's "Goosebump" or his "Fear Street" series will surely love this book. 2002, Parachute Press,
— Jayme Derbyshire
This compilation of nineteen scary stories has something for everyone. Stine, best known for his Goosebumps series, gathers a collection of varied formats: poetry from Shel Silverstein, a classic horror story from Ray Bradbury, modern spine-tinglers by Jack Prelutsky and William Sleator, and even a graphic novel-like comic episode from A Vault of Horror (Gladstone Comics). The shortest entry is barely a page; the longer stories are about twenty pages long. By turns tongue-in-cheek and seriously gruesome, these diverse tales would provide most middle school and junior high aged teens with several hours of blood-chilling pleasure. Stine also pays attention to the tastes of younger teens through the packaging of his material. The oversized cover art is wonderfully lurid, with a clawed werewolf-like monster leering at the reader over a moonlit tombstone. Spiderwebs grace all the pages without major illustrations as well as Stine's enticing introductions to the tales. Master illustrators such as Shel Silverstein, Gahan Wilson, and Jack Kamen shine, but lesser-known artists also deliver some edgy, eerie black-and-white line drawings. This collection would make fascinating Halloween recreational reading for most teens and is also suitable for reluctant readers. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002, HarperCollins, 224p,
— Debbie Earl
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-This collection of 23 stories and poems includes selections by Ray Bradbury, Patricia McKissack, Edward Gorey, Bram Stoker, William Sleator, Alvin Schwartz, Jack Prelutsky, Shel Silverstein, and others. Among the illustrators represented are Brian Pinkney, Quentin Blake, Gahan Wilson, and Peter Horvath. While all of the stories are available elsewhere, some of the best are found in more obscure sources. Having them in one volume, with each tale introduced by Stine, makes this a good choice for most collections. The selections read aloud well and are short enough to read in several minutes. The more terrifying selections are juxtaposed with those that are funny, providing some comic relief. Children who enjoyed Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1981) and More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1984, both HarperCollins) will want to add this title to their reading lists. The pen-and-ink and charcoal illustrations visually clue readers as to how each tale ranks on the "scary barometer." The grizzly selections have very dark pictures while the more lighthearted ones have clean, clear strokes and more white space on the page. This is an obvious choice for children who love a good scare from time to time.-Molly S. Kinney, Office of Public Library Services, Atlanta, GA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 9.12(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

R.L. Stine Picks His Favorite Scary Stories

The Black Ferris

by Ray Bradbury

The carnival had come to town like an October wind, like a dark bat flying over the cold lake, bones rattling in the night, mourning, sighing, whispering up the tents in the dark rain. It stayed on for a month by the gray, restless lake of October, in the black weather and increasing storms and leaden skies.

During the third week, at twilight on a Thursday, the two small boys walked along the lakeshore in the cold wind.

"Aw, I don't believe you," said Peter.

"Come on, and I'll show you," said Hank.

They left wads of spit behind them all along the moist brown sand of the crashing shore. They ran to the lonely carnival grounds. It had been raining. The carnival lay by the sounding lake with nobody buying tickets from the flaky black booths, nobody hoping to get the salted hams from the whining roulette wheels, and none of the thin-fat freaks on the big platforms. The midway was silent, all the gray tents hissing on the wind like gigantic prehistoric wings. At eight o'clock perhaps, ghastly lights would flash on, voices would shout, music would go out over the lake. Now there was only a blind hunchback sitting on a black booth, feeling of the cracked china cup from which he was drinking some perfumed brew.

"There," said Hank, pointing.

The black Ferris wheel rose like an immense light-bulbed constellation against the cloudy sky, silent.

"I still don't believe what you said about it," said Peter.

"You wait, I saw it happen. I don't know how, but it did. You know how carnivals are; all funny. Okay; this one's even funnier."

Peter let himself be led to the high green hiding place of a tree.

Suddenly, Hank stiffened. "Hist! There's Mr. Cooger, the carnival man, now!" Hidden, they watched.

Mr. Cooger, a man of some thirty-five years, dressed in sharp bright clothes, a lapel carnation, hair greased with oil, drifted under the tree, a brown derby hat on his head. He had arrived in town three weeks before, shaking his brown derby hat at people on the street from inside his shiny red Ford, tooting the horn.

Now Mr. Cooger nodded at the little blind hunchback, spoke a word. The hunchback blindly, fumbling, locked Mr. Cooger into a black seat and sent him whirling up into the ominous twilight sky. Machinery hummed.

"See!" whispered Hank. "The Ferris wheel's going the wrong way. Backward instead of forward!"

"So what?" said Peter.


The black Ferris wheel whirled twenty-five times around. Then the blind hunchback put out his pale hands and halted the machinery. The Ferris wheel stopped, gently swaying, at a certain black seat.

A ten-year-old boy stepped out. He walked off across the whispering carnival ground, in the shadows.

Peter almost fell from his limb. He searched the Ferris wheel with his eyes. "Where's Mr. Cooger?"

Hank poked him. "You wouldn't believe! Now see!"

"Where's Mr. Cooger at!"

"Come on, quick, run!" Hank dropped and was sprinting before he hit the ground.

Under giant chestnut trees, next to the ravine, the lights were burning in Mrs. Foley's white mansion. Piano music tinkled. Within the warm windows people moved. Outside, it began to rain, despondently, irrevocably, forever and ever.

"I'm so wet," grieved Peter, crouching in the bushes. "Like someone squirted me with a hose. How much longer do we wait?"

"Ssh!" said Hank, cloaked in wet mystery.

They had followed the little boy from the Ferris wheel up through town, down dark streets to Mrs. Foley's ravine house. Now, inside the warm dining room of the house, the strange little boy sat at dinner, forking and spooning rich lamb chops and mashed potatoes.

"I know his name," whispered Hank quickly. "My mom told me about him the other day. She said, 'Hank, you hear about the li'l orphan boy moved in Mrs. Foley's? Well, his name is Joseph Pikes and he just came to Mrs. Foley's one day about two weeks ago and said how he was an orphan run away and could he have something to eat, and him and Mrs. Foley been getting on like hot apple pie ever since.' That's what my mom said," finished Hank, peering through the steamy Foley window. Water dripped from his nose. He held on to Peter, who was twitching with cold. "Pete, I didn't like his looks from the first, I didn't. He looked -- mean."

"I'm scared," said Peter, frankly wailing. "I'm cold and hungry and I don't know what this's all about."

"Gosh, you're dumb!" Hank shook his head, eyes shut in disgust. "Don't you see, three weeks ago the carnival came. And about the same time this little ole orphan shows up at Mrs. Foley's. And Mrs. Foley's son died a long time ago one night one winter, and she's never been the same, so here's this little ole orphan boy who butters her all around." "Oh," said Peter, shaking.

"Come on," said Hank. They marched to the front door and banged the lion knocker.

After a while the door opened and Mrs. Foley looked out.

"You're all wet, come in," she said. "My land." She herded them into the hall. "What do you want?" she said, bending over them, a tall lady with lace on her full bosom and a pale thin face with white hair over it. "You're Henry Walterson, aren't you?"

Hank nodded, glancing fearfully at the dining room, where the strange little boy looked up from his eating. "Can we see you alone, ma'am?" And when the old lady looked palely surprised, Hank crept over and shut the hall door and whispered at her. "We got to warn you about something, it's about that boy come to live with you, that orphan...

R.L. Stine Picks His Favorite Scary Stories
. Copyright © by R.L. Stine. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

R.L. Stine began his writing career at the age of nine and has been at it ever since, becoming a bestselling author several times over. Among his many groundbreaking credits are Fear Street, the first young adult horror series, and Goosebumps, the bestselling series that made Stine the #1 bestselling author in America for three years in a row. He lives with his wife in New York City.

HarperCollins Publishers is a proud supporter of First Book, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their own new books. The primary goal of First Book is to work with existing literacy programs to distribute new books to children who, for economic reasons, have little or no access to books. In this way, First Book effectively leverages the heroic efforts of local tutoring, mentoring, and family literacy organizations as they work to reach children who need help the most. First Book distributes millions of books to hundreds of thousands of children nationwide each year. For more information on First Book, please visit

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Brief Biography

New York, New York
Date of Birth:
October 8, 1943
Place of Birth:
Columbus, Ohio
B.A., Ohio State University, 1965

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