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According to the La Times, Stine had this to say:
“Thanks to Yvonne Bernard, Lookout Entertainment and Splash Entertainment, ‘The Little Shop of Monsters’ will soon be open for business…And I’m looking forward to school being in session with my most rotten book series, ‘Rotten School,’ onscreen for the first time too.”
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The Little Shop of Monsters was Stine’s first picture book. Coupled with Marc Brown’s illustrations that Publisher’s Weekly described as “humorously [matching] the creatures’ names and attributes to their physical appearances, creating a raucous crew of horned, clawed, fanged, bug-eyed, winged, scaly, and furry monsters in an array of patterns and colors”, the story followed two children, a boy and girl, who walk into a store behind to buy a monster.
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Monsters cluster behind panes of glass…
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…and gawk at the children as they walk past their cages…
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…and watch them from the beyond while the narrator playful torments the reader by asking how great they are.
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Kirkus Reviews summed the book up with thus: “Readers are sure to visit this shop again and again for its fantastical creatures and its slightly sinister tone.” This hilariously horrifying book won the 2016 Children’s Choice Book Award for kindergarten to second grade book of the year.
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With no less than sixteen books in the series, Rotten School is a landmark in R. L. Stine’s career. Brought to us by Parachute Publishing, the series last from 2005 until 2008. Want to know why it’s such a brave career move? Well, just listen to the premise below.
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The series follows the adventures of Bernie Bridges, a fourth-grader who lives in his dormitory of the titular school. He has friends with strange names such as Feenman, Beast, Chipmunk, Nosebleed, and Billy The Brain and rivals such as the spoiled but rich Sherman oaks and his compatriots Wes Updood and Joe Sweety.
The story is eye-catching considered that it does not contain themes of horror. No monster in a store here. Instead, we have Bernie’s crush: April-May June, and him trying to earn money by selling his things, stealing from his friends, and making bets.
It’s a strangely down-to-earth book considering the outrageous names.
The illustrations by Trip Park balance the realistic and cartoony nature. In fact, his website says that the series “was a wonderful chance to combine his love for children’s illustration with this group of rotten students”.
The series was an interesting come-around for Stine’s career. See, he started out as a humor writer before published horror novels in the 1980s. Come 1980, he debuted his Fear Street series, and three years later, come 1992, he started writing the Goosebumps series. Rotten School then brought him back to his routes over twenty years later.
Now the Hollywood Reporter wrote that “R. L. Stine and illustrator Marc Brown have signed a deal with Splash Entertainment to create animated onscreen content based on two book properties”. This deal came about with the help of Lookout Entertainment, Stine’s licensing agent.
Currently both Dan Bernard and Yvonne Bernard are set to serve as executive producers, although it’s unknown if they’ll becomes films or television series.
Featured Image Via The Toy Book