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Stay Out of the Basement by R. L. Stine
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Stay Out of the Basement (1992)

by R. L. Stine

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
I feel as though RL Stine's early works are before he found his footing, not as a "writer" but as a story-teller. It isn't as entertaining or gripping as his later works. ( )
  benuathanasia | Dec 2, 2017 |
I thought this was a really good chapter book. This book involves two children's father working on a secret plant experiment in their basement after he looses his job. He tells them to stay out of the basement but the kids could resist. The father eventually turns into a monster plant man. I liked the organization of this chapter book. The chapters aren't too lengthy so a child who is beginning to get into chapter books will love this book because it isn't too long. The second thing I really enjoyed about this book was the suspenseful plot. Most goose bump books are like this as they keep readers wanting to read more and more after details are slowly revealed throughout the book. The final thing that I thought was nice about the book was how the main characters were two kids. I think it makes fora better children's book when the readers can identify with the main characters and connect with them. ( )
  johngipe | Dec 15, 2016 |
## Something's waiting in the dark...

After being fired from PolyTech, Margaret and Casey's dad, Dr. Brewer, has been spending all his free time in the basement. He's since transferred his botany lab to the home basement, and is filling his time with dangerous experiments. "Stay out of the basement!" he yells at them whenever their curiosity gets the best of them. With the mom away on a business trip, the kids are left alone with their obsessed dad for too long -- and he's starting to get weird. He's bleeding green; small plant growth is poking out from under his hat; he's eating fertilizer and sleeping in a bed of wormy soils!

[N.B. This review includes images, and was formatted for my site, dendrobibliography -- located here.]

Pretty soon, he starts cooking for the kids, but the food he's cooking doesn't pass as normal food (it's green goop!), and his assertion that they need to eat it with an implied 'or else' is terrifying. Things get worse when the kids investigate the basement only to find a brutally humid environment packed with living, breathing -- audibly heaving -- monster plants, and the discarded clothes of visiting family friends.

While not one of the best Goosebumps stories, Stay Out of the Basement is still a solid, iconic entry that tells its story well. We all probably grew up with nearby places we weren't supposed to go -- for us, it was the garage piled high with old, rotting boxes, each packed to the brim with the useless objects of long-time hoarders -- or parents with jobs too complex and awful-sounding to figure out, so the plot opens itself to easy connections. The mystery around what's happening to their dad -- whether he's good, bad, plant, human -- will keep readers going to the end. It's a claustrophobic story, too, as Margaret and Casey have no place to turn to as the dangers ramp up.

Stay Out of the Basement is also the first of many -- too many -- Goosebumps stories to casually vilify science and scientists as evil. While this specific story has its excuses for it -- and it was such a pivotal story in my childhood that I can forgive it -- the commonality of this trope in future R.L. Stine stories to explain evil bothers me to no end.

R.L. Stine's Goosebumps (1992–1997):
#1 Welcome to Dead House | #3 Monster Blood

N.B. Stay Out of the Basement is one of two original Goosebumps books to not feature cover art by Tim Jacobus. Artist Jim Thiesen is responsible for the original cover. (The other non-Jacobus book was Be Careful What You Wish For....) ( )
1 vote alaskayo | Oct 10, 2016 |
At the beginning, the father was just a scientist and then became a mad scientist because he created a human that turned into a plant who turned out to be him. ( )
  Mikelodeon | Feb 17, 2016 |
I love the Goosebumps franchise. This book involves two children's father working on a secret plant experiment in their basement. They are explicitly told to stay out of the basement. These kids start to notice changes in their father, almost as if he is not the same person. This book is more geared towards entertainment rather than to explain a purpose or teach a lesson. But, this book does show that there are types of books for everyone out there. If you like mystery, but are not old enough for big mystery books, this is perfect. It is simple, but still tells an interesting and complex tale. This book is a good example of having multiple types of books for multiple types of people. Not everyone may like this type of book, but it may be perfect for others. ( )
  ajfurman | Dec 2, 2014 |
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AR 3.9, 3 pts.

(Review by Charles Duff below)

Goosebumps is a classic series that has been read by many children, including this LibraryThing member.  It’s a fantastic series for children in the upper elementary grades.  This one is about a father who conducts strange botany experiments in his basement and his naturally curious children.  Although it should mainly be used for independent reading, it will at least get kids to keep reading, as it is a hook read for sure!  Here are some fun Goosebumps games for kids to get them curious in reading more: http://www.scholastic.com/goosebumps/...
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"Dr. Brewer is doing a little plant-testing in his basement. Nothing to worry about. Harmless, really. But Margaret and Casey Brewer are worried about their father. Especially when they ... meet ... some of the plants he is growing down there. Then they notice that their father is developing plantlike tendencies. In fact, he is becoming distinctly weedy--and seedy. Is this just part of their father's 'harmless' experiment? Or has the basement turned into another little shop of horrors?"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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