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Children's LiteratureThe "Who Wrote That?" series offers middle and teen readers information about the lives of favorite authors. The books describe each writer's childhood, family, and experiences that led him or her to writing. Major works are explored, including critical reaction, while the writer's own comments and recollections are frequently included. Stine started quite young by writing humor, went on to various writing jobs, and eventually found his niche when an editor friend suggested he try a horror novel for young readers. Written in four months, Blind Date became an instant success and Stine never looked back. This prolific writer (with an average of two books a month) has an extremely odd method of getting started—thinking of a title first and using it as his inspiration. It has worked for him; he's now the world's best-selling children's author with his series "Fear Street," "Goose Bumps," "The Nightmare Room," and "Dangerous Girls." He has also been criticized a lot for the horror, shallowness, and formulaic quality of his books. Two interesting chapters in this biography deal with Stine's critics, his answers to them, and the issues of censorship. Fans will enjoy Stine's approach to his readers—trusting them to choose appropriate books for themselves—and his belief that his books are "not half as scary as the real world." Each volume in this series ends with a chronology, short summaries of the writer's most popular books and best-known characters, complete lists of works and major awards, and a bibliography. 2006, Chelsea House, Ages 12 up.
—Barbara L. Talcroft