The first of the ‘Goosebumps’ series was published in 1992. R.L. Stine and Scholastic struck gold with this series: ‘Goosebumps’ titles are still being written and printed. Anyone twenty-one years and a little older, who had the slightest interest in reading would remember going to the library to pick up ‘Nancy Drew’, ‘Hardy Boys’ or ‘The Secret Seven’. Only if you dared, if you had more than an ounce of bravery and could weather more suspense than usual, would you choose ‘Goosebumps’ or ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?’ Maybe you would even watch the television versions, without reading the book first. Now that you are a few years older you may (or may not) realize that ‘Goosebumps’ wasn’t that scary at all (but don’t tell that to anyone still frightened by it).
In the ‘Goosebumps Most Wanted’ series R.L. Stine produces ‘The 12 Screams of Christmas’. It has all the staples of a usual ‘Goosebumps’ title: thrill, excitement, horror, suspense and the urge to keep reading more. You can count on R.L Stine to add a pinch of scary to a Christmas story.
‘The 12 Screams of Christmas’ starts off introducing the ghosts of this children’s story. An enticing, frightening outline is drawn when eight-year-old Flora falls down a well in her family’s new yard. R.L. Stine leaves you wondering what happens next as he fast-forwards to another time period and a totally different story, or at least so it seems. The new protagonist is Katie, who sees ghosts periodically during her elementary school years, earning her the title “Ghost Girl”. When her teacher organizes the school Christmas play, and she auditions, Katie has no idea of the number of ghosts she has signed up to meet.
As part of the class getting into character, the students sleep over at a supposedly haunted house for a few days. The drama teacher tells them the story of that particular house and why no one stays in it anymore. He recounts the story of a little girl falling down the well in the backyard and screaming, “Get me out!” twelve times in a row before disappearing. It has been over a hundred years and no one knows what happened to Flora. That is where the school’s play ‘The 12 Screams of Christmas’ originated. No one in the class is scared, because they don’t believe in ghosts. Except Katie, who begins to see all the ghosts of the ancient family. When the ghost family asks her to take up a huge responsibility that would help them rest in peace forever, Katie realizes that her ability to see ghosts is a gift, after all.
‘Goosebumps Most Wanted: The 12 Screams of Christmas’ is a great children’s read. If you’re no longer a child and you just want to remind yourself of your childhood literature, it’s perfect too. Although it has a Christmas theme, the best thing about ‘Goosebumps’ is that they can scare your socks off at anytime.
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