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Night in Werewolf Woods is #5 in R.L. Stine’s Give Yourself Goosebumps series, sort of like the Choose Your Own Adventure books I remember from my childhood.  Published in 1996, the book gives readers a series of choices as the story progresses.  Told in the second person and geared toward children in the 8-12 age range, Stine makes young readers feel as though they are part of the story.

The idea behind Night in Werewolf Woods is that you (the reader) are taking a summer vacation with your family to WoodsWorld, where according to legend, werewolves walk the woods at night.  Your parents force you to be nice to Todd Morris, the son of their best friends, who are sharing the cabin with your family.  But Todd is a bit nerdy and a bit whiny.  As Todd is unloading the car, the Murphy brothers steal the red tin box that contains Todd’s prized collection of pewter figures.  You don’t really like Todd, but you don’t hate him.  In fact, you feel a bit sorry for him, so you offer to attend the Kids Only Campfire and get his collection back from the Murphy bullies.

At this point, readers are given their first choice — to ditch Todd and attend the campfire alone or let Todd tag along.  There are more than 20 possible endings to the Night in Werewolf Woods, and you can bet that The Girl made any risky decision that would put her face-to-face with the werewolves.  We stayed up late one Friday night last month reading this book together.  We took turns answering the puzzle questions and making decisions about where to go and what to do next, but The Girl was quick to voice her opinion if she thought my choices would end the story too soon or weren’t scary enough.

The Girl is a big R.L. Stine fan, a lover of scary, creepy stories.  I tell my husband that when she gets older, he’ll finally have someone in the family who enjoys watching horror movies as much as he does.  (For now, I have to keep telling her that the scary movies she sees advertised in the commercials are not appropriate for her innocent eyes.  I can’t even stomach most of them.)  But honestly, this book wasn’t as creepy as the R.L. Stine books I remember reading as a kid.  Granted, this was the first time I read a book in the Give Yourself Goosebumps series and we only saw one way the story could go, but it seemed that Night in Werewolf Woods was exciting simply because there was something to do, some action to take at the end of every page that kept the story from slowing down.  Even The Girl wished it had been scarier.  I think the scariest part was when we decided to turn off the lamp and read using a little book light — and my overstuffed bedroom closet popped open without any (human) help.  What a funny coincidence!

Here’s what The Girl (age 9) had to say about Night in Werewolf Woods:

Night in Werewolf Woods could have been scarier.  I personally like books that scare me and make my spine tingle.  Night in Werewolf Woods lets you choose your own adventure.  Me and my mom made the scariest possible choices.  I would like to re-read the book because I want to see what would happen if I let something bad happen to one of the characters (Todd).  The sentence I just said might sound mean, but he was annoying.  My favorite part when when the action happened.

Disclosure: The Girl purchased her copy of Night in Werewolf Woods at a library sale.  I am an Amazon associate.

© 2010 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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