Review Blog

Mar 01 2013

Planet of the Lawn Gnomes by R. L. Stine

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Goosebumps Most Wanted. Scholastic, 2013. ISBN 9780545417983.
The Goosebumps series has been popular over a long period of time and I know many boys who have been turned on to reading through the work of R.L. Stine.
The lawn gnomes on the cover are enough to make the faint hearted reader turn away, and the lovers of horror fiction delighted. The opening chapter reinforces the impression that this is for horror lovers only as the author introduces the story.
Jay the main character tells the story from his perspective. He claims he is not bad despite having 'been in some pretty bad trouble'. He and his family have moved from another town recently and we become aware that it is because of the trouble Jay has caused. New neighbour, Mr McClatchy, is now the focus for Jay's pranks, but the presence of several garden gnomes spooks him.
These are not little gnomes, being almost as tall as 12 year old Jay, and seem to move about at will, and are everywhere. There is also the quagmire at the end of the street containing quicksand and enormous, blind, Buzzard Hawks flying about. The Buzzard Hawks are large enough to carry away the family golden Labrador Mr Phineas. With these problems and the fact that no one seems keen to tell Jay what is going on, leads to a very confused main character, and reader.
Unfortunately I wasn't a fan of the series in the 90's and despite the many titles now in circulation, this new Most Wanted title hasn't changed my opinion. I found the main character Jay hard to sympathise with and understand, and even at the end was left feeling bemused.
For true fans it undoubtedly will be a hit, but sadly, I have yet to be converted.
Sue Keane

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