What's So Scary About R.L. Stine?

Overview

R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series for children and Fear Street series for young adults have catapulted him to the top of the lists. Stine's books have convinced millions of young people that reading is fun. Yet rather than congratulate him, many parents, teachers, and librarians see Stine and his writing as dangerous and debasing. Many adults have attempted to ban his books from libraries and deny his talent. At the heart of the controversy of Stine is a much deeper controversy over quality in literature and art in ...
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Overview

R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series for children and Fear Street series for young adults have catapulted him to the top of the lists. Stine's books have convinced millions of young people that reading is fun. Yet rather than congratulate him, many parents, teachers, and librarians see Stine and his writing as dangerous and debasing. Many adults have attempted to ban his books from libraries and deny his talent. At the heart of the controversy of Stine is a much deeper controversy over quality in literature and art in general. Those who deny Stine's validity draw a sharp value distinction between high art and popular art, especially when the audience is young people. This fascinating debate is one which reaches beyond the confines of any one author or genre. In this spirited defense, Patrick Jones examines Stine's genius for writing pop culture, a craft that has its own skills and value. He traces Stine's career from joke writer to horror series author to media king. Each step in Stine's writing life is discussed with emphasis on the teen thrillers. Jones proposes that debate about Stine has become a prism through which we view questions about youth and popular reading, particularly horror and other paperback series.
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Editorial Reviews

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
...an engaging critical study of the biggest seller in children's literature...is as much advocacy as critical appraisal, and the writer has done an excellent job of supporting that advocacy...thorough but breezy and accessible, this is a title that will provide fodder for many librarians grappling with the mass-market issue.
Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy
Jones provides us with plenty to think about as he helps us understand R.L. Stine as a person, as a writer, and as a power in children's literature. He also gives us insight into today's children: what they do, what they want, what they think...and what they fear. These are all important considerations for parents and educators when we decide whether or not we are afraid of R.L. Stine.
School Library Association
This book should be widely read by educators.....it is very informative.
The Bulletin Of The Center For Children's Books
...an engaging critical study of the biggest seller in children's literature...is as much advocacy as critical appraisal, and the writer has done an excellent job of supporting that advocacy...thorough but breezy and accessible, this is a title that will provide fodder for many librarians grappling with the mass-market issue.
Joys
If you are interested in Stine's life and his career path, if you want a bibliography of his books, assessment and criticism of major works, discussion of his literary influences and his position in young adult literature, this volume is for you.
Journal Of Adolescent and Adult Literacy
Jones provides us with plenty to think about as he helps us understand R.L. Stine as a person, as a writer, and as a power in children's literature. He also gives us insight into today's children: what they do, what they want, what they think...and what they fear. These are all important considerations for parents and educators when we decide whether or not we are afraid of R.L. Stine.
Reference and Research Book News
...this analysis of Stine's career and works by a Houston YA librarian places him in the tradition of respected YA writers—affirming that horror literature for children has a legitimate place in libraries.
Catholic Library World
Educators, librarians and media specialists should welcome the depth of thought and research that has been poured into this study. It deserves a place in professional and library collections alongside his brief autobiography.
Bulletin Of The Center For Children's Books
...an engaging critical study of the biggest seller in children's literature...is as much advocacy as critical appraisal, and the writer has done an excellent job of supporting that advocacy...thorough but breezy and accessible, this is a title that will provide fodder for many librarians grappling with the mass-market issue..
School Library Journal
YA-Based on interviews and articles by experts in the fields of literature and psychology, this book includes Jones's own viewpoint to build a powerful argument for appreciating and evaluating Stine's style, popularity, and contribution to young adult literature. The well-written introduction sets the tone and subsequent chapters expand on and explore the themes and arguments presented. Jones's perspectives are insightful, but many of the gems in the book are buried in lengthy paragraphs and chapters. While this title is intended as a comprehensive study and analysis of the Stine "phenomena," readers will sometimes wish for Stine's brevity when looking for specific information. Still, this is a sure bet for reports.-Molly S. Kinney, Office of Public Library Services, Atlanta, GA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Prefaced by a not very scary-looking photo of the controversial author of the Goosebumps book series and inventor of the young adult thriller (Blind Date), this analysis of Stine's career and works by a Houston YA librarian places him in the tradition of respected YA writers--affirming that horror literature for children has a legitimate place in libraries. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Patrick Jones is a librarian in Houston, Texas, and the author of Connecting Young Adults and Libraries: A How To Do It Manual. Jones is a frequent speaker at library conferences, the creator of the Young Adult Librarian's Help/Homepage, and the editor of a column for VOYA magazine about websites of interest to young adults and young adult librarians.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 DON'T GO IN THE ATTIC: childhood, college, and early writing career Chapter 2 JOKE TELLER: humor books Chapter 3 PLOT TWISTER: multiple storyline books Chapter 4 A BLIND DATE: first thriller, Blind Date Chapter 5 THRILLS, CHILLS, AND SPILLS: the appeal of horror Chapter 6 HORROR MASTER: the Fear Street series Chapter 7 TWICE THE THRILLS TWICE A YEAR: Fear Street Super Chillers Chapter 8 THRILLOGIES: Fear Street trilogies Chapter 9 OFF FEAR STREET: other YA novels and an adult novel Chapter 10 NUMBER ONE WITHOUT A BULLET: Goosebumps Chapter 11 THE STINE MACHINE: writing process Chapter 12 WHAT'S SO SCARY ABOUT R.L. STINE?
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