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Goosebumps Horrorland #1: Revenge of the Living Dummy

Review

Goosebumps Horrorland #1: Revenge of the Living Dummy

Britney Crosby is not very happy, and that is an understatement. Her pain-in-the-neck cousin Ethan has moved into her house. That's bad enough, but Britney's mother gave Ethan her room, so now she's sleeping in the sewing room! At least Britney has her BFF, Molly Molloy, to sympathize with her. Ethan is a complete brat, but Britney's parents insist she be especially nice to him because he's had such a hard life.

This is nearly impossible, especially when Britney sees Ethan's best buddy --- a creepy smiling ventriloquist's dummy that Ethan calls Mr. Badboy. Bam! Mr. Badboy whacks Britney on the forehead the moment she meets him. Ethan, of course, denies any responsibility, insisting that the dummy hit Britney all on his own. Meanwhile, Mr. Badboy screeches, "I'm a BAAAAAD boy!"

Britney's mom makes her take Ethan (still toting Mr. Badboy) to Molly's house. Molly's dad is a folklore professor who travels everywhere, bringing home bizarre artifacts like horrible-looking dolls, old toys and skulls. When Professor Molloy sees Mr. Badboy, he's intrigued, saying that the dummy looks vaguely familiar to him. He takes the children up to his attic museum and shows off a doll with a shrunken head that he's recently acquired. The doll is called a Mind Stealer, and supposedly it can take your mind right out of your head. Even worse, Professor Molloy believes it’s actually capable of doing the evil deed…but he feels it's safe under thick glass.

When Britney and Ethan get home, Ethan shows her his ventriloquist act. Surprisingly, he's excellent at throwing his voice to make Mr. Badboy talk. Or so Britney believes, until she sees the dummy moving all on its own. Britney is sure her cousin has rigged the dummy, even though Ethan appears to be trembling in fear. She continues to believe that Ethan is putting one over on her, until something happens that is completely unexplainable. How can a dummy move and say, "I don't like you, Britney!" when its ventriloquist is away from the room?

Britney is terrified, but (not surprisingly) her parents don't believe her when she tells them that Mr. Badboy is alive. That's terrible, but things go even further downhill for poor Britney as Mr. Badboy grows increasingly violent. And her life gets more complicated when Molly calls, begging Britney to come help bury the Mind Stealer doll.

Along with each complete horror story, each entry in R. L. Stine’s Horrorland series --- a spin-off of his popular Goosebumps books --- features a serial tale in installments, which takes place in a creepy amusement park known as Horrorland. In this first book, Britney and Molly have received a puzzling invite to the Horrorland amusement park, which is complete with a werewolf petting zoo and a quicksand beach. The girls think this is the most amazing thing ever…at first. But it isn't long before they experience the true horror in Horrorland.

REVENGE OF THE LIVING DUMMY is a fun, fast-paced, spine-chilling thriller for kids who love to be scared. These readers will also enjoy the first episode of the serial story, which will leave them yearning for the next title in this 12-book series.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on March 30, 2008

Goosebumps Horrorland #1: Revenge of the Living Dummy
(Goosebumps Horrorland #1)
by R. L. Stine

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2008
  • Mass Market Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0439918693
  • ISBN-13: 9780439918695