If you were a ’90s kid, you probably spent some time with “Goosebumps” books.
The short horror novels were enormously successful, eventually accounting for nearly 15 percent of publisher Scholastic’s annual revenue. In total, the series sold over 300 million books worldwide, making it the second-most popular children’s book series of all time behind Harry Potter.
The book in question was the eighth novel in the Goosebumps series.
Stine continued, “In my original manuscript, the librarian eats a kid. And everyone thought that maybe was going a little too far. They said, ‘You can’t eat a kid in Goosebumps.’ So I changed it. I put a big bowl of live turtles on the librarian’s desk. And every once in awhile, the librarian would reach out and grab a turtle and chew it. Eat it up.
“Which actually is better than a kid. It’s crunchier. It’s a lot crunchier. And you can hear it. It’s more horrifying, I think. That was the one time I went too far.”
At the end of the book, the evil Mr. Morton is eventually eaten by Lucy’s parents, who turn out to be monsters themselves.
The Girl Who Cried Monster was popular enough to warrant a reprint in April of 2005. It was also adapted into an episode of the Goosebumps television series. The TV show’s producers softened the plot somewhat, changing the book’s gruesome ending substantially (the characters end the show by sharing a cherry pie).
Although the original series technically ended in 1997, R.L. Stine continues to occasionally write Goosebumps-related books. His latest work is Attack of the Jack, a horror fiction novel in the Goosebumps SlappyWorld series—they’re basically just Goosebumps booked, but narrated by a dummy named Slappy.
In case you’re curious, other spinoff series have included Goosebumps Series 2000, Goosebumps HorrorLand, Goosebumps Most Wanted, and Give Yourself Goosebumps. We’re just scratching the surface here. In total, there are currently 183 Goosebumps books in print, although a small number of them were written by authors other than R.L. Stine.
In any case, we’ll always remember the original series fondly, although we’ll never be able to get the image of crunched-up frogs out of our heads.