Goosebumps

For the record, a new job has not yet magically fallen from the sky.  But thank you for asking.

Today I am thinking of something else altogether.  Goosebumps.  No, not the physiological reaction to cold or terror, but the children’s book series of the same name.  If you too have kids, you may have heard of it.  Maybe you’ve read one (or more) yourself?  As a kid, I adored mysteries.  I read Nancy Drew of course, and the Hardy Boys, Alfred Hitchcock, Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine (before the Goosebumps series).  I even recall the Ellery Queen minute mystery segment which used to air on a local AM radio station.  Any tale that involved the supernatural, a ghostly spectre or skeletal hand, creaking doors, maniacal laughter – you name it, and I was transfixed.  As a teenager I moved onto horror, and for several years let Stephen King scare the crap out of me.  Eventually I grew tired of the genre, mostly b/c I preferred sleeping soundly at night.  I’d also discovered something as I aged.  The terrifying fact that people in real life can be bigger monsters than anything in fiction.

Fast forward twenty years.  I am now mother to two girls, one of whom loves a good mystery.  The shivers creeping up & down her spine, till she’s forced to pull the covers over her head.  Surprisingly it’s my younger (not older) daughter, who has been for most of her life enchanted with all things ghoulish.  We have a running joke about her watching episodes of Scooby Doo as a toddler, reminding us all (in her slurpy slurred speech – due to the pacifier) “mmooonsteersss – pphhaffake.” Her older sister tried Goosebumps a few years ago and was pretty much traumatized by the series.  Couldn’t sleep for days, the poor thing.  I banned the books and videos (though I didn’t need to).  She couldn’t even look at the covers w/out cringing.  But recently our younger daughter has started checking the books out from the library.   She is 6, and frankly, cannot read that well.  The Goosebumps series is geared towards prepubescents.  I find it amusing that she proudly clutches them to her chest at the check-out, displaying her choice for all & sundry, and announcing loudly to her sister than SHE IS GETTING GOOSEBUMPS.  This week it’s The Cuckoo Clock of Doom.

Two nights ago she thrust the book under my nose.  I feigned terror –  Ooooooh Georgia, I can’t even look at it!  And she positively beamed with pleasure.  She tries (or pretends) to be reading the books, though I know she can’t make out more than a few sight words.  I understand half her motive for the selection is to (try to) get one-up on her big sister, whom she knows can’t stand the series.  Her checking out Goosebumps is akin to saying You Wuss and thumbing her nose at her.  I don’t encourage this sort of thing, but it’s not doing any harm.  In terms of real competition or threat, it’s a non-issue, and it might be helping her learn to read.  A little.

But my husband is having none of it.  He sees these Goosebumps books as a completely ineffective distraction from the task at hand.  Her learning to read.  He has no patience w/ her pretending to do so.  So tonight we’re going back to the library to get some more suitable books for our youngest.  My question.  Can anyone recommend some good mysteries for a 6 year old?  Believe me when I saw we’ve exhausted the collection of Scooby Doo soft backs.  Are there any others out there for this age group?

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8 thoughts on “Goosebumps

  1. I can’t suggest any books, but I too remember R.L. Stine books.
    After figuring out his writing pattern, I lost interest and moved onto Sassy 🙂

    Is the June B. series too old for a 6-year-old?
    Wasn’t there a series by Judy Blume for the youngin’s

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  2. banging head…it has been soo long since I thought about this stuff. Have you also considered reading chapter books as a family?
    We used to do this when the girls were learning to read and eventually they even took turns reading. I am sure I will think of something in the middle of the night long after you’ve been to the library.

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  3. (So how’s your job search going? Sorry I didn’t ask sooner. Too depressing. My son is searching too, and there is NOTHING OUT THERE! But on the bright side, it only takes one job.)

    Anyway. The only mystery (not horror – pretty mild, akin to Nancy Drew perhaps) series for kids i can think of at the moment is The Boxcar Children. My youngest boy adored them when he was six. When he turned 7, he “wrote” (dictated to me) one of his own, so that the youngest boy in the series, who was perpetually 6, could have a b’day and turn 7. You might give it a try. There are a whole bunch of them, and it was one of the first book series my youngest read on his own. (Also, believe it or not, my nieces loved the Mary Kate and Ashley Mysteries).

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  4. Heyya bouncy babe — been missing ya! Mads has all the junie b books but g is not interested. Judy Blume – I don’t recall anything but “advanced materials” – of course..

    Connie – lovely idea! We read to the girls, they read to us already – we should read altogether. xo

    Happy New Year Trace! Thanks for the heads-up – Boxcar Children – will check it out.

    Hi Abbie! LOVE pippi – thanks!

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  5. This is an old post, but how about the Bailey School Kids series? They are books about 4 3rd grade kids who meet weird adults in their town who might be monsters. The first book is called Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots and it’s about their teacher, Mrs. Jenkins, who they suspect is a vampire. There are similar books with that kind of title–Ghosts Don’t Eat Potato Chips or Werewolves Don’t Go to Summer Camp. They’re a lot easier than the Goosebumps book but they’ve got that mysterious feeling.

    And I wouldn’t stop letting her take out the Goosebumps. Sometimes kids just like having the big book–it makes them feel good. Don’t take the fun out of reading. It’s great that she’s enjoying the experience of books. Making reading into “work” might hurt her in the long run.

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  6. Thanks so much for the heads-up! The Bailey School Kids series sounds like something my daughter would enjoy. My husband has banned the Goosebumps books altogether. He was reading her one the other day and it started getting crazy — talking about knives and all sorts of crap. I am all for fun, but violence? NO.

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