Lizzy and her family are lost on the way to the zoo. While pulled over on the side of the road, a monster from the Horrorland billboard peers at them through the sunroof, inviting them to visit (or warning them to run away). It should be a bad sign when the car bursts into flames in the amusement park parking lot, but for some reason, this family of five continues into the park with its Horrors—the monstrous gatekeepers. With a doom slide that never ends, reflecting mirrors that threaten to squash anything in their path, and coffin canoes, the family soon realizes that this park is more terrifying than fun. Unfortunately, the monsters have other plans and no one leaves Horrorland alive. Or do they? As the book notes, “The signs give a warning. There is always a warning,” which must be taken seriously.
Although One Day At Horrorland has been renumbered in its more current reprints, I pulled this older edition from my childhood bookshelf. I have always loved R.L. Stine for an easy read with an engaging plot. His books are not literary masterpieces but are perfect for restless readers looking for well-woven, scary tales. For third to sixth graders, Stine creates relatable characters with just the right amount of spooky—without crossing the line or making crude suggestions like Dahl. I felt a little nostalgic reading what was for me a beginner chapter book that made me fall in love with reading. We all need an entertaining story at face value sometimes. Stine is always a solid go-to reluctant reader book suggestion for any gender.
One Day At Horrorland (Goosebumps #16) by R.L. Stine (Scholastic Inc., 1994)