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Kids gather in a bookstore and share their opinions of their favorite "Goosebumps" books
Scared into reading

'Goosebumps' series a frightening success

Web posted on: Friday, October 30, 1998 3:51:31 PM EST

From Correspondent Linda Ciampa

ATLANTA (CNN) -- He's the Stephen King for kids -- R.L. Stine cranks out a new "Goosebumps" book every two weeks.

The wildly popular fright series keeps hitting new heights, with a new play based on it touring the country this Halloween season. Stine told CNN recently he can hardly keep up.

"I don't think anyone is more amazed than I am at what happened with 'Goosebumps,'" says Stine. "We had no idea it would take off the way it did. We've sold over 200 million copies of 'Goosebumps,' which in five years is more than 'Nancy Drew' and 'The Hardy Boys' combined sold in 70 years. It's unbelievable."

The "Goosebumps" book series has been so successful that it has been turned into a play

'A thrill ride'

The stories are unbelievable too -- mysterious monsters, ghastly ghouls, and spooky creatures of all kinds.

And now the books are coming to life with "Goosebumps Live On Stage."

The play is geared for families, an important goal for the show's writer/director Rupert Holmes.

"I designed the show to be comical and entertaining for adults as well as kids, so they can share the experience, kind of like a thrill ride at the theme park where the adults go along to reassure the children, but the adults often get as many shivers as the kids do," Holmes says.

The author says the scariness of his stories is what kids are attracted to

'A good scare'

The scariness is part of Goosebumps' appeal, according to Stine.

"We all like a good scare if we know we're safe at the same time," says Stine. "Kids who read 'Goosebumps,' they are going out having these creepy adventures but they know they are safe in their own room."

Holmes says he tried to interpret that feeling to the stage.

"I was reaching into the special effects of theater, doing the kind of magic and physical stunts that are part stage, part magic show," Holmes says. "Make the audience understand that there is more to entertainment than TV; there's books and plays."

In the end, it all comes back to books. Kids are getting "Goosebumps" and reading them.

"This is the most exciting part of this for me," Stine says. "Those kids that write to me and say, 'Dear R.L. Stine, I've read 30 of your books, 40 of your books...' Those kids aren't just reading, they've developed a reading habit which I hope will last them for the rest of their lives."

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