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Goosebumps Horrorland #5: Dr. Maniac Vs. Robby Schwartz

Review

Goosebumps Horrorland #5: Dr. Maniac Vs. Robby Schwartz

Poor Robby hates to go camping. He doesn't like roughing it and is a little on the klutzy side. But that doesn't keep his parents from dragging him along, much to the amusement of his younger siblings, who think it's hilarious to see Robby fall down. His family teases him, saying he should make the superhero of the comic strip he writes super-clumsy. Robby tries to ignore them because his comic strip is something he cares deeply about.

While Robby is doing lame camping chores like gathering wood for the fire, he's contemplating his comic strip's latest supervillain, Dr. Maniac "The Totally Mental Maniac of Mayhem." Robby stumbles around in the woods, thinking up wild plots for his Dr. Maniac comic strips. Creepily, he realizes he is reliving one of his most recent comic strips. In the comic strip episode, Robby is stumbling around in the woods hunting firewood when Dr. Maniac appears. Now, in real life, he hears (gasp!) footsteps.

But it turns out to be Robby's younger brother, Sam. Whew!

Sam is alarmed at how frightened Robby is when he appears, and warns him not to get comics and real life mixed up. Then they start cracking up at the idea of superheroes flying around in real life. But their hilarity is cut short when Robby finds a piece of fabric caught on a branch…and it is the identical leopard-skin pattern as Dr. Maniac's cape! However, since Robby's family is always playing jokes on each other, Robby keeps the piece of cloth but doesn't panic.

Late at night, when Robby, Sam and their little sister Taylor are snuggled in their sleeping bags in their tent, Robby can't go to sleep when his siblings do. Robby hears someone walking around the tent. He even thinks he hears someone saying his name. Finally, he climbs out of the tent, certain that his dad is calling him. But to his horror, he spies Dr. Maniac --- in the flesh.

Robby is stunned beyond belief. He stands there, not trusting what he sees even as Dr. Maniac demands he eat a dead squirrel. Robby pushes the stinking animal carcass away, trying not to vomit, while Dr. Maniac first jeers at him for being a coward and then demonstrates his own bravery by taking a big bite out of the squirrel.

If you think that's bad, the worst is yet to come. Dr. Maniac starts to kidnap Robby…and that's when the story twists in an unexpected manner. (I'm not telling!) Of course, if Robby actually survives, he'll be entering the HorrorLand amusement park tale at the end of the book for more thrills and chills. Seven kids are trapped there, waiting for a hero to save them.

Goosebumps fans are sure to enjoy this rollercoaster horror story, complete with a plot propelled by an urgent search and a few comic strip villains come to life. There's an unlikely team of heroes, snapping scorpions, television talk show hosts, ice-skating torture and much more…complete with an ending that is likely to stun readers and leave them pondering the line between imagination and reality.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on October 1, 2008

Goosebumps Horrorland #5: Dr. Maniac Vs. Robby Schwartz
(Goosebumps Horrorland #5)
by R. L. Stine

  • Publication Date: October 1, 2008
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0439918731
  • ISBN-13: 9780439918732