Tuesday, 5 July 2022

[Review] - Goosebumps SlappyWorld: Slappy in Dreamland


Throughout the mid-90s, all the talk in the mid-grade classrooms was about the Twilight Zone-like kid-friendly Goosebumps book series by R.L. Stine, the author of the Fear Sreet series. I was two months shy of being an 11-year-old when the very-first Goosebumps book, Welcome to Dead House, came out in July 1992, so I've been a fan from the beginning. 

Like most fans, young and old, my favorite villainous character is Slappy the ventriloquist dummy. Slappy has been the star of the ongoing spinoff series Goosebumps SlappyWorld, where he's the story's narrator. And occasionally, Slappy takes part in the fun as the story's antagonist, such as Slappy in the Dreamland, the 16th entry in the series.  

Like every other Goosebumps tale, the protagonist in Slappy in Dreamland is a twelve-year-old, the target reader age for these books. (God, I feel old.) The protagonist is Richard Hsieh, a not-so-popular kid whose best friend is a ventriloquist dummy - the one and only - Slappy. Richard's father gave him Slappy as a birthday gift, and he takes the dummy everywhere. Apparently, there's still a thing called "Bring-Your-Kid-To-Work-Day" because Richard gets dragged to his mother's sleep lab, where Slappy gets wired to a brain wave machine. (Yeah, it's weird.) 

Slappy finds a new way to scare children by haunting them in their nightmares, starting with Richard and his cousin Willow. Typically, a Goosebumps protagonist has a best friend or younger sibling, but Willow isn't Richard's pal. Willow is more or less Richard's bully until Slappy invades her dreams. Then they two have to work together to stop Slappy from attacking their sixth-grade classmates at the zoo sleepover. Yes, you read that right - a zoo sleepover. Their entire class gets to spend the night in a zoo. 



Final Thoughts


Besides being a Goosebumps fan, I'm also A Nightmare on Elm Street fan, so I got a kick out of Slappy haunting kids in their nightmares. However, the dreamscape scenes weren't as frighting as they could have been. Yes, I know this is a kid's book, but the nightmares were a bit too babyish and needed less silliness and more suspense. 

Maybe I'm behind on the times, but I don't understand how a middle-grade school would allow a class to sleep over at a zoo. I highly dought that would ever happen in reality. I guess that's why it's called fiction. Right? 
 
That ending! LOL! The ending twist was unexpected and bizarre. Was it another nightmare? Or was it real? 

Overall, Goosebumps SlappyWorld: Slappy in Dreamland is another fun entry in the series. Younger readers should have a frightfully good time reading about Slappy's newest antics.  


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