Young Scrooge: A Very Scary Christmas Story

Young Scrooge: A Very Scary Christmas Story

by R. L. Stine

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Rick Scroogeman hates Christmas. He can't stand the carols and the pageants. He can't stand the lights and the mistletoe. But what he hates the most is having to watch the old movie A Christmas Carol every year at school. Since his name is Scroogeman, all of his classmates start calling him Scrooge. And he hates being called Scrooge.

But everything


Rick Scroogeman hates Christmas. He can't stand the carols and the pageants. He can't stand the lights and the mistletoe. But what he hates the most is having to watch the old movie A Christmas Carol every year at school. Since his name is Scroogeman, all of his classmates start calling him Scrooge. And he hates being called Scrooge.

But everything starts to change when three ghosts visit him. At first, he thinks it's a dream. But then he realizes that it might be a nightmare. A nightmare that could become real.

Young Scrooge: A Very Scary Christmas Story is a funny, scary middle-grade send up of A Christmas Carol, about a boy who hates Christmas, from bestselling Goosebumps author R. L. Stine.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Stine brings his characteristic humor and light scares to a reworking of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, set at Oliver Twist Middle School. Twelve-year-old Rick Scroogeman relentlessly bullies his classmates, tormenting Josh Cratchitt, who has a stutter, and sabotaging the school play (thousands of ants are involved) after learning that he was denied a part because the other students are afraid of him. Stine sticks to the rough outline of the Dickens story line while including ample twists, chilling situations, and jokes: Rick is accidentally visited by Marley’s ghost, who is haunting the wrong house, and Rick’s version of the Golden Rule translates to “Do it to others before they do it to you.” The Ghost of Christmas Past, a hooded figure, whisks Rick to a long-ago school, where he gets a taste of bullying from students who mock him and trick him into diving into a pigpen. The Ghost of Christmas Present allows Rick’s peers to speak for themselves, and the final ghost offers Rick a vision of a terrifying, zombie-filled future. It’s eerie holiday fun, and Stine resists making Rick’s eventual turnaround too sugary-sweet. Ages 9–12. (Sept.)

Product Details

Feiwel & Friends
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Young Scrooge

A Very Scary Christmas Story

By R. L. Stine

Feiwel and Friends

Copyright © 2016 R. L. Stine
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-11231-6


My name is Rick Scroogeman. I'm twelve, and you might say I mainly like to have fun. I like to tease kids and goof with them and give them a hard time and mess with them a little. You know. Just to be funny.

Some kids at my school, Oliver Twist Middle School, call me Sick Rick. Behind my back, of course.

I don't get that.

I think maybe they're jealous because they don't have as good a time in school as I do. Or maybe because I'm bigger than them and more grown-up. I had a growth spurt last summer, and now I'm the tallest one in my grade.

Pauly Stimp, who plays forward on the Twisters basketball team, only comes up to my chin. Seriously. I call him Stimp the Shrimp.

I'm tall and I'm big. Yeah, I know it looks like I have a big belly hanging over my cargo jeans. But it's all muscle. Go ahead and punch me in the gut. Punch me as hard as you can. You'll see. But be careful — because I punch back. Ha!

Before I go any further, I want to warn you about something. I want to warn you that this is a ghost story.

Maybe you don't believe in ghosts. Or maybe you think ghosts can be friendly and nice, or maybe sad, or maybe they need love, or something icky like that.

That's not what I learned. I learned that ghosts can be terrifying. And cold. And cruel. And vicious. And did I mention terrifying?

So, that's my warning.

Maybe you thought you were going to get a sweet story about Christmas joy and sparkling snow and good cheer. If that's what you want, go read Frosty the Snowman.

Seriously. No one stands around singing Christmas carols all day in the Rick Scroogeman story.

I guess I should also say that I'm afraid of ghosts. But that's the only thing I'm afraid of. Don't believe me? Test me. You'll see.

I've been afraid of ghosts since I was a little kid. I saw a dark shadow moving on the kitchen wall. And there was no one in the kitchen who could have made that shadow.

Whoa. Creepy, right?

But enough about scary stuff. Being scared is not how I roll.

Here's a good way to get to know me. You can read an essay I wrote for Miss Dorrit's class. She made us all write essays on "What Christmas Means to Me."

Gag me, please.

Yes, it's almost that sick time of year, time for my least favorite holiday. Why do I hate Christmas so much? Well ... don't just sit there asking questions. Read my essay ...


By Rick Scroogeman

I hate hate hate Christmas for two reasons.

One: They make us watch this terrible old movie in school every Christmas. It's called A Christmas Carol, and it seriously sucks.

It's about a really old guy who is stingy and grouchy and mean to everybody. And three ghosts come to take him away and show him how mean and rotten he is, and they tell him why he should change and be nice. And why he should like Christmas.

The movie is bad because it's in black and white. Also, the ghosts aren't scary at all. The special effects totally suck. But there's something even worse than that.

The mean old guy is named Ebenezer Scrooge.

Like ... why?

As everyone knows, my family name is Scroogeman. So every year after we watch this dumb film, the kids in my class think it's a riot to start calling me Scrooge.

Ha-ha. Do I look like I'm laughing? I don't think so.

But that's not the main reason I hate Christmas. I hate it because I was born on December 25. That's right. Christmas Day is also my birthday.

And does anyone ever remember to celebrate my birthday? No way.

They're all too busy putting up lights and decorating the tree and singing carols and getting ready for the Big Day.

Do you know the dumbest thing about Christmas? Decorating a tree. Because you spend hours hanging stuff on the tree. Hours. And then you just have to take it all off. Talk about a waste of time.

Besides, Christmas trees make me sneeze. I'm allergic to them, and I can't breathe when we have a tree in the living room. But does anyone care if I breathe or not? Of course not. It's Christmas.

Because of Christmas, I've never had a birthday party like every other kid I know. I've never been taken to Disney World or someplace cool. I never get to choose what's for dinner on my birthday. We always have to have a Christmas goose. Yuck all. Who eats goose?

And do I get birthday presents like every other kid?

Of course not. I only get Christmas presents. And no one even talks about how old I'm getting and what an awesome guy I am.

See? I get cheated. Cheated out of my birthday every year.

And that's why I say, Bah, Humbug, like the old guy in that movie. And that's why I HATE HATE HATE Christmas.

Can you blame me?


Let me tell you. I don't mean to brag, but Oliver Twist Middle School would be dull without me. Ask anyone. And if they say something bad about me, just remember what I said — they're totally jealous.

I hate to say it, but there are a lot of losers in this school. And losers give me a pain.

There's that loser Davey Pittman, leaning over the water fountain. Ever since they showed that Christmas movie yesterday, Davey has been calling me Scrooge. What a fun guy.

Watch me have a little fun with him. When Davey bends his head to get a drink, I cup my hands under the water. I fill up my hands — and then I send a big splash of water onto the front of his pants.

Davey makes a gulping sound and steps back, staring down at the big wet spot on his pants.

"Oops," I say, and then I laugh. Ha-ha.

When Davey walks into class, everyone will see the dark spot on the front of his pants and think he had an accident.

Funny, right?

But now Davey is stepping away from the water fountain, red-faced, scowling angrily at me. The kid has no sense of humor. That's his problem.

"No hard feelings." I slap him hard on the back. He goes sprawling into the yellow tile wall. "Oops," I say again. What else can I say? Sometimes I don't know my own strength.

The hall is really crowded. Everyone is heading to class. Some kids saw me push Davey Pittman into the wall. They probably think that was mean. They don't realize I was just having fun with him because he called me Scrooge.

I see another friend of mine across the hall, closing up his locker. Jeremy London is a short, pudgy guy with curly blond hair, freckles, and a goofball smile. He looks frightened when he sees me coming. But we're actually good friends.

"What do you want, Scrooge?" Jeremy asks as soon as I step up to him.

Uh-oh. He shouldn't have said that. I don't think he meant to. But it slipped out of his mouth anyway.

"Would you like a dancing lesson?" I say.

He tries to back away from me, but his locker is in the way. "A dancing lesson?"

"Yeah," I say. And I tromp down on the top of his sneaker as hard as I can with the heel of my shoe.

"Owwwww!" He lets out a cry.

That must hurt.

He starts to hop up and down on one foot.

I clap my hands in rhythm as he hops on one foot. "Dance! Dance! Go, Jeremy! Go, Jeremy!" I shout.

It's so funny to watch him hop like that. I love giving dance lessons. It's one of my favorite jokes.

I wave good-bye to Jeremy and make my way down the hall to Miss Dorrit's class. I have a big smile on my face. I'm thinking about Davey's wet jeans and how embarrassed he looked. And Jeremy hopping up and down like a one-legged kangaroo.

Hey — does anyone have as much fun as I do?


In Miss Dorrit's class, I sit on the end in the back row near the window. Lucy Copperfield sits next to me. Lucy is really nice. I've known her since first grade.

Lucy is all about her hair. That's all she cares about. No joke. She has perfect straight black hair parted in the middle and flowing like waterfalls down both sides of her face. She is constantly smoothing down her bangs and running her hands through her hair and making sure it falls perfectly in place.

So whenever I see Lucy, what do I do? I can't help myself. First, I take my thumbs and smear the lenses on her glasses. Then I take both hands and ruffle her hair as hard as I can.

I try to make it stand straight up. I destroy the part and push her hair this way, then that way, until she looks like she has a furry cocker spaniel on her head.

Ha-ha. Funny, right?

Her face turns red and she acts totally annoyed. But I know she thinks it's funny, too.

I look around. No one else is laughing. Am I the only one with a sense of humor in this school?

Lucy shakes her head hard and struggles to smooth her hair into place. "Rick, don't do that again," she says, squinting at me through her smeared glasses.

"Rick, don't do that again," I repeat, imitating her high, squeaky voice.

"Stop it!" she cries. "I mean it!"

"Stop it!" I repeat. "I mean it!" A few kids laugh at my imitation of her shrill little mouse voice.

Lucy raises her hand, trying to get Miss Dorrit's attention. But Miss Dorrit has her back turned, writing on the whiteboard.

"Rick, why are you so juvenile?" Lucy says.

"Ooh. Big word," I say. I slip her phone from her backpack and start pushing things on the keypad.

"Give that back. What are you doing?" Lucy cries. She tries to grab it but I swipe it out of her reach.

"I have to make a call," I tell her. "To China."

"You're not funny," she says through gritted teeth. "Give me back my phone."

"No. Really," I say. "My uncle is in China. One of his business trips. I have to call him." I start pushing numbers on the dial.

"No. Give it back," Lucy cries, grabbing for the phone again.

"You can't call China. It will cost hundreds of dollars!"

"That's why I'm doing it on your phone," I say.

But, of course, it's a total fake-out. My uncle isn't in China. He's in Cincinnati. And why would I call him in the middle of school?

"Miss Dorrit?" Lucy shouts. "Rick has my phone."

What a snitch.

Up at the front of the room, Miss Dorrit rolls her eyes. "Give her back the phone, Rick," she says. "No phones in class."

I hand Lucy back the phone. "I was only helping her with it, Miss Dorrit," I say. "Her phone had a problem, and I fixed it."

"Liar," Lucy mutters.

I laugh. You have to think fast in school. Most kids don't know how. That's why they're losers.

"Quiet down, people," Miss Dorrit says. That's teacher-talk for shut up.

She's so pretty. She's really young and she has wavy blond hair and amazing green eyes and a funny laugh that sounds like she's hiccupping. She's the most popular teacher in school, at least with the boys.

"Everyone take out a sheet of paper and number it from one to twenty," she says. "We're going to have a quiz on last night's science chapter."

Last night's science chapter? I didn't read it. I had too many TV shows to watch. I had to catch up on a bunch of episodes of Uncle Grandpa. I mean, which would you choose — your science textbook or Cartoon Network?

In the front row, Josh Cratchit raised his hand. "Does this t-t-t-test c-c-count on our g-grade?" The little mouse-faced wimp has a hilarious stutter.

I raised my hand. "M-M-M-Miss Dorrit?" I asked. "Does the t-t-t-test c-c-count or is it just p-p-p-practice?"

Some kids laughed. I can stutter even better than little Joshy. I saw his face turn bright red.

Miss Dorrit's expression turned angry. "Mister Scroogeman, I'm going to pretend you didn't say that," she said. She always calls you by your last name when she's angry at you. "I think you owe Josh a big apology. And I'm warning you — don't ever do that again."

"S-s-s-sorry," I said.

A lot of kids laughed. Josh turned even redder. He kept his head down. He wouldn't look at me. He should know I was just having fun with him. No hard feelings.

Miss Dorrit opened her mouth to scold me. But the classroom door swung open, and Davey Pittman walked in with the big wet spot on the front of his jeans. "Sorry I'm late," he said.

I could see that everyone was staring at his pants. What a riot.

"What kept you?" Miss Dorrit asked.

Davey pointed at me. "Rick splashed water on the front of my pants."

"Liar," I said. "Davey, you don't have to be embarrassed to tell the truth."

An angry screech escaped his throat. Like a monkey who didn't get his banana.

I had to laugh. It was one of those perfect moments.

Miss Dorrit told Davey to take his seat, and she passed out the quiz questions. "Do your best, everyone," she said. "This is the last quiz before Christmas vacation."

I glanced down the list, and I could see I didn't know any of the answers. I knew what CO2 was. But what are Au and Li?

That's why I always try to sit next to Lucy. Lucy is very smart and she always does her homework. She gets everything right on Miss Dorrit's quizzes, and she does a very bad job of covering her answers. I mean, she doesn't even try to hide her test paper.


That makes it easy for me to see the right answers, too.

I just lean toward Lucy's desk a little bit and take very quick glances at her paper. Some people might call this cheating. But I think any way a person finds the right answers is a good thing. At least you're learning.

I mean, I learned that Au stands for "gold" in the periodic table. That was Lucy's answer, and I knew it was right.

I was sailing along, taking quick glances at Lucy's test paper, writing down the right answers. About halfway through the quiz, Miss Dorrit's voice interrupted me. "Lucy? Rick? What exactly is going on, you two?"

I knew I was caught. I had to think fast.

"Lucy has been copying off my paper," I said. "I didn't want to get her in trouble."

Lucy made a choking sound. I slapped her back a few times to help her stop.

"That's not exactly what I saw, Mister Scroogeman," Miss Dorrit said. "Are you sure you're telling the truth?"

"Pretty sure," I said.

Lucy ran her eyes up and down my test paper. "He copied every one of my answers," she told the teacher.

"Not every answer," I said. "I'm only on number nine."

Some kids laughed. But Miss Dorrit didn't crack a smile. "I'll see you in here after school, Rick," she said.

"I can't come," I said. "I have rehearsal for the Christmas play."

"I need to talk to you about that, too," Miss Dorrit said. "Come after school and don't keep me waiting."

"But ... I'm supposed to give snowman-building lessons to my brother, Charlie," I said. "My mother told me to help him. Charlie doesn't know how to build a snowman, and he needs lessons really bad."

"That's a good one," Miss Dorrit said, rolling her eyes. "I haven't heard that one before."

"Thank you," I said.

"Charlie will have to build his own snowman," she said. "Don't be late."

I took a deep breath. "Does this mean I'm in trouble?" She didn't answer.


After school, my friends were starting rehearsals for the Christmas play in the auditorium. But I made my way toward Miss Dorrit's classroom.

The hall was nearly empty. Most kids had hurried out into the snow to have fun. It had snowed about six inches the night before, and the snow was fresh and soft and perfect for packing tight wet snowballs.

I love creeping up behind kids and smashing a hard snowball into the back of their head. They never know what hit them. It's such a riot.

Some kids brought their ice skates to school. They planned to go directly to Oxford Pond beyond the elementary school playground to skate. Fun.

I'm a good ice-skater. I love skating really fast and cutting right in front of people, surprising them so they have to come to a sharp stop. Sometimes they lose their balance and fall right on their butt. Ha-ha. They look so funny.

But no fun for me this afternoon. I knew I was heading into a lecture by Miss Dorrit. As I walked, I lowered my head and stared down at the floor and practiced looking sorry for what I had done. Whatever it was.

I turned a corner and — wouldn't you know it — there was Josh Cratchit bending over in front of his open locker, pulling books from the locker floor.

I knew I should walk right past. But I never can resist when it comes to Joshy. With his skinny runt body and his pale face and thick eyeglasses and that horrible stutter, Josh is the perfect victim.

Everyone likes to pick on him. I'm not the only one.


Excerpted from Young Scrooge by R. L. Stine. Copyright © 2016 R. L. Stine. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

R. L. Stine is the author of the bestselling Goosebumps and Fear Street series, as well as the stand-alone novels It's the First Day of School . . . Forever! and A Midsummer Night's Scream and his adult novel Red Rain. He lives in New York City with his wife, Jane, and their dog, Minnie.

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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