Stine’s Slappy returns to sneer and scare.
Everyone’s favorite demonic dummy, Slappy, welcomes readers to his world as he acts as narrator and host in this first of a new Goosebumps subseries. This time out of the case, Slappy is a gift to Ian on his 12th birthday from his father, who repairs dolls and had received Slappy as a job—but with no return address. Ian has been obsessed with ventriloquism and dummies since a trip on his 9th birthday to a doll museum. Bratty little sister Molly thinks the refurbished Slappy’s scary. Annoying cousins Jonny and Vinny want their turn at playing with the new toy. When a paper with six magic words that promise to bring Slappy to life slips out of the dummy’s sleeve, all heck breaks loose. The is-he/isn’t-he–alive plot gets recycled again (this is Slappy’s 10th novel-length outing) along with all of Slappy’s jokes (which are mostly insults and feel very antique). His legions of fans won’t mind; they never do. The language is simple, the chapters end in (often foolish) cliffhangers. Per established formula, this offers just a bit of gross and no real scares. Slappy is white, and there’s nothing to indicate that the rest of the cast is otherwise.
Disposable paperback chills from Jovial Bob Stine. (Humorous horror. 6-10)