My 10-year-old daughter was spending some quality time at my place last night (that’s code for “eating my left-over pizza while helping solve a jigsaw puzzle”) and announced, out of the blue, that she’d started reading Carrie. I approved heartily, even though that book is quite scary, because I love that she loves reading, that she reads well above her grade level, and that she’s into Stephen King. I read all the classic King novels when I was her age. That’d be back in the 1980s. And I’m delighted to see King can still hold a kid’s attention.

It’s funny that every time the subject of my kids reading Stephen King comes up (her older sister has already read a few of his classics), someone mentions the Goosebumps series, prompting a major-league case of eye-rolling on my part. Yeah, yeah, they’re good. For what they are, they’re pretty good. But they’re for small children, not mature readers. The characters are one-sided (except for the ones who are secretly monsters, but you see those coming from a mile away), the plot simple, the writing meh.

My kid, beautiful soul that she is, noticed my eyes tumbling out of their sockets and said the best thing that could be said about R. L. Stine ever in the history of quote-making. She agreed I could use her line provided I credited her with her chosen nom de plume, so here goes:

“R.L. Stine’s books are the training wheels on the bike of fear.” (J. Elizabeth Robson)