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Freaks and Shrieks (Mostly Ghostly) Library Binding – August 23, 2005

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Mostly Ghostly (Book 7)
  • Library Binding: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (August 23, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385909322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385909327
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,172,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

R. L. Stine began his writing career when he was nine years old, and today he has achieved the position of the bestselling children’s author in history. In the early 1990s, Stine was catapulted to fame when he wrote the unprecedented bestselling Goosebumps® series, which sold more than 250 million copies and became a worldwide media phenomenon.

R.L. Stine has received numerous awards of recognition. He lives in New York, NY.

From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Dr. Smollet’s lab was in a three-story white stucco building. A barbed wire fence surrounded the place. I saw empty lots on both sides. No stores or houses on the block.

He opened the gate with a key and led us to the white front door. I saw rows of tiny windows rising up to the flat red roof. All the windows were barred.

As soon as we stepped inside, I heard the shrill cries.

Animal cries. Shrieks and howls. Muffled behind a long row of closed doors.

Dr. Smollet noticed my surprise. “Don’t pay any attention,” he said. “We do a lot of animal experiments here. The animals are all well cared for.”

We started down a long white hall. Even the carpet was white. The animal cries became fainter as we turned a corner that led into another white hall.

Nicky and Tara glanced around nervously.

“Did our parents work here?” Tara asked.
Dr. Smollet nodded. He led us into a big square room filled with computer equipment. The walls were solid white. Bright lights beamed down from the low ceiling.

I saw rows of laptops on two long tables. Cables stretched above our heads. Large electronic machines beeped and hummed against one wall. Red and blue lights blinked.

Flat-screen monitors filled another wall. The monitors flashed numbers and equations and formulas.

Dr. Smollet pulled off his raincoat and suit jacket and tossed them on a chair. He tugged down the sleeves of his starched white shirt.

I could still hear the animal shrieks in the distance. Sad, frightened cries. They made me feel frightened too.

Had we made a big mistake?

I swallowed hard. My mouth was suddenly very dry, and my hands felt as cold as ice. I jammed them into my jeans pockets–and felt the deck of trick cards.

Will I get out of here in time to see Ballantine?

The lab was neat and clean. The monitors blinked silently. The big electronic machines clicked and hummed. Dr. Smollet smiled as the three of us gazed around.

“This lab belonged to your parents,” he told Nicky and Tara. “This is where they worked. And I worked here alongside them.”

“Wow,” Nicky said, shaking his head. He walked up to a long table of laptops. “I think I remember being here. It’s a faint memory. But it’s coming back to me.”

“Yes, I remember the computers,” Tara said. “And all those wires and cables on the ceiling.”

She tugged at her dangling plastic earrings.

She always pulled them when she was thinking hard or trying to remember something.

“We were here, Nicky,” she said. “I know we were. Why can’t I remember it better?”

Dr. Smollet leaned on the table with his hands.

“That’s what we’re here to find out,” he said.

He pointed to the machines against the wall.

“Your parents and I worked here, capturing evil ghosts. Your parents were on a mission. They believed that a lot of the evil in the world was caused by these spirits. Your parents found a way to capture them and keep them prisoner here.”

Dr. Smollet sighed. “But one evil ghost–a man named Phears–escaped. I tried to fight him off. But he was too powerful for me. He injured me. He knocked me out. When I came to, all the evil ghosts had escaped. Phears had freed them all.”

“We–we’ve run into Phears,” Nicky said.

Dr. Smollet’s blue eyes grew wide. “You and your sister were here in the lab on that awful day. Don’t you remember? Don’t you understand?”

Nicky and Tara froze. They stared at him. Speechless.

“We . . . didn’t know,” Tara said finally.

“You were visiting your parents here,” Dr. Smollet said. “When Phears escaped, he did something to your family. To all four of you.”

“You were here,” I said. “Didn’t you see what happened to them?”

Dr. Smollet shook his head. “No. I didn’t see anything. I was out cold.”

He took a deep breath and smoothed back his white hair. “But I have someone here who saw everything,” he said. “I have a witness. I told you his name. Mr. Harvey.”

“Where is he?” Tara asked.

Nicky strode up to Dr. Smollet. “Can we talk to him? Is he here now?”

Dr. Smollet nodded. “Mr. Harvey is the only one who saw everything that happened that day.

He saw Phears escape. He saw Phears free the other ghosts. And he saw what Phears did to you and your parents.”

The scientist loosened his tie. It was cool in the lab, but beads of sweat rolled down his forehead.

“Mr. Harvey may know the secret. He may know how to bring your family back to life,” he said, gazing intently at my two ghost friends.

“Please–can we see him?” Tara cried. “Can we talk to him now?”

Dr. Smollet cleared his throat. He tugged at his tie again. “Well . . . there’s a small problem. I’ll show you.”

He swung away from the table and walked quickly out of the lab. The door closed behind him.

Nicky and Tara stared at each other. Then they turned to me.

“I . . . I don’t know what to say,” Tara confessed.

“I’m shaking!”

“Me too,” Nicky said, his voice cracking. He pumped his fists in the air. “This is too good to be true. Do you think Mr. Harvey really can bring us back to life? And tell us what happened to us?”

The lab door swung open.

Dr. Smollet stepped in, followed by another figure.

“This is Mr. Harvey,” Dr. Smollet said.

Tara’s mouth dropped open.

Nicky gasped.

I stared hard at Mr. Harvey. My brain felt as if it was spinning in my head. “But . . . but . . . ,” I stammered. “Mr. Harvey is a chimp!”


Dr. Smollet led the chimp by the hand.

Mr. Harvey loped into the room, bouncing as he walked. He kept shaking his head, his lips moving silently. Then he pulled back his lips and gave us a toothy grin.

The chimp was about three feet tall. He wore bright red spandex bike shorts. He had a red baseball cap on his head. But as he crossed the room toward us, he pulled the cap off and tossed it across the lab.

“Hoo hoo hoo.” He made chimp noises and bobbed up and down, his hands on his hairy knees.

Tara stormed up to Dr. Smollet angrily. “Is this some kind of stupid joke?” she demanded.

Nicky pulled Tara back. “Let’s go,” he muttered.

“This is totally insane.”

“No, wait–” the scientist said. He petted the back of the chimp’s head. Mr. Harvey flashed us another grin.

“I told you there was a problem,” Dr. Smollet said.

“How could you do that to them?” I cried.

“How could you get their hopes up like that?” I felt as disappointed as Nicky and Tara.

“Please let me explain,” Dr. Smollet said. He lifted Mr. Harvey onto a tall wooden lab stool at the counter. The chimp reached out and started to play with Dr. Smollet’s white hair.

Dr. Smollet pulled the chimp’s hand away. “Be a good boy, Mr. Harvey. This is a big day for you,” he said.

He turned to us. “Yes, Mr. Harvey is a chimp. But he was here in the lab when Phears escaped. He saw what happened to you and your parents. He was the only witness.”

“But he can’t talk!” Tara screamed.

“Hoo hoo hoo,” Mr. Harvey said. He reached for Dr. Smollet’s hair again.

Dr. Smollet raised a finger. “But I’ve found a way to make him talk,” he said. “Just listen to me.”

He motioned to the stools at the counter. The three of us took seats.

“It’s simple, really,” Dr. Smollet said. “It sounds more frightening than it is.”

“What are you talking about?” Tara demanded.

“There’s only one way to learn what Mr. Harvey knows,” Dr. Smollet said. “We switch his brain with the brain of a live human.”

Nicky and Tara both turned to me. “You mean Max?”

From the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Why is Tim Jacobus R.L. Stine's favorite illustrator? Maybe because they've done so many scary books together. Tim did the cover paintings for more than 80 Goosebumps books, as well as the six amazing Amazon books. Recently, the two of them got together and asked the questions they've always wanted to ask each other...


TIM (the illustrator) asks R.L. STINE (the author):

TIM: When I illustrate, I can "see" the image in my head before I start to draw. Do you "hear" a story when you write?

R.L.: I hear kids when I write. I try to hear the voice of the boy or girl who is telling the story. I visit schools a lot and talk with kids so I can keep up with what they are saying these days and what real kids sound like. Then I try to hear their voices tell the story as I write it.


TIM: You've written so many books I can't do the math, but I bet you've used millions of words. What's you favorite word?

R.L.: Someone once got in an elevator with a very witty author named Noel Coward and said, "Say something funny." And Coward said, "Kangaroo." Kangaroo has been a favorite word of mine ever since I heard that story. But as a horror writer, I guess my favorite word is SCREAM!


TIM: Where is the strangest place you have come up with an idea for a story?

R.L.: An empty movie theater. My wife and I went to see a scary movie in a big, old movie house-- and we were the only ones in the theater. It was kind of creepy. Then about halfway through the movie, I turned around and saw that the back row was filled with people sitting straight and still. Suddenly, I thought-- They are zombies! I'm trapped in a dark zombie theater! And that's where the idea for the book Zombie Town came from.


TIM: If you couldn't write-- and you possessed all skills-- what would you like to do for a living?

R.L.: I drew comic strips from the time I was in 4th grade, and I always dreamed of being a cartoonist. You can imagine my shock when the other kids told me how bad my art was. They were right. I stunk! I got over my extreme disappointment by starting to write. But if I had the skill, I would love to do what you do, Tim.


R.L. STINE (the author)asks TIM (the illustrator):

R.L.: If you couldn't be an artist what would you like to be?

TIM: I would like to be a "Snowmaker" at one of the big ski resorts, out west, like Mammoth Mountain in California. You work at night when everyone goes home. Set up the snow guns, cover the slopes, and groom them with the Sno-Cat track machine. It's kinda like a snow tank! Then, you get to ski for free! I love that snow!


R.L.: When we were kids, my brother and I used to go to a horror movie every Saturday. We loved them all. The covers on our six Amazon books look like movie posters to me. Were you also influenced by horror movies? If so, which ones?

TIM: I was a complete "chicken" as a kid. I couldn't sit through any horror movie. The first scary movie I saw was on TV. It isn't really a horror movie. It was the Hunchback of Notre Dame-- the black-and-white version with Charles Laughton. That movie freaked me out! The mutant, Quasimodo, was something that REALLY could exist. Black-and-white movies, black-and-white photos--they all seem more "real" than full color to me.


R.L.: You have painted so many great covers. I think your scariest Goosebumps cover was for The Barking Ghost. And the black cat on The 13th Warning is really creepy. Do you have a favorite cover? Is it a scary one or a funny one?

TIM: It's hard to pick a favorite. But you gotta love the blue bathroom blobs in Monster Blood IV. That one is a little creepy and WAY funny. For just outright scary, I love the ticket taker in Zombie Town!


R.L.: What was the weirdest thing someone ever asked you to draw?

TIM: Oh, I have drawn a lot of weird stuff. One time, I had to paint a pimple! You know... acne! It was a medical illustration. Gross. When I first started illustrating, I painted pictures of food. My food illustrations were used in the Sunday newspaper for the local supermarket. I painted every food you can imagine. I can draw a pretty mean potato!

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amy Aldrich on January 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Freaks and Shrieks is the 7th (and second to the last) book in the Mostly Ghostly series. Throughout the Series we follow Max (live boy), Tara (ghost girl) and Nicky (ghost boy)...Max is not your typical young man...he's got a brutish bully of a brother, a father who'd rather he was a jock and not so into learning and magic tricks, and oh yea...two ghosts living in his house. Nicky and Tara are supposed to be his friends, but who are constantly getting him into one big mess after another and this time out, things are no different. Thankfully, Colin (the brother) has one brief appearance in this story as I was getting quite tired of the overkill emphasis on the brotherly violence.

In Freaks and Shrieks Nicky and Tara are being stalked (yet again) by a strange man in black) and we join Max as he's preparing for an audition for his favorite magician, Ballantine (to hopefully become one of three students he's taking on). Nicky and Tara typically want to help make his audition better and you know what that means...naturally, they make it worse. Max also lucks out with an invitation from Tracy Wayne (the most popular and beautiful girl at school) to a party...but even that is in jeopardy as Nicky and Tara beg him to allow Dr. Smollet to transfer his brain to a chimp (the only living thing to have witnessed what Phears did to Nicky & Tara and their parents and perhaps the only way to find out how they really become ghosts). Will Max trade brains with a chimp? Will he impress Tracy at the party? And most importantly will he get to be one of Ballentines magical students? Things never go as planned when things are Mostly and find out!

Overall, it's another three star book for the Mostly Ghostly series...
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A Kid's Review on March 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Nicky and Tara are two ghost kids that live on Max's house.He is the only person who can see them.One day while Nicky and Tara were walking home after going to school whit max they notice that someone was following them. the two kids get scare because they are ghosts and no one could see them,no one but max and other ghosts.Finally they decide to start runing and hide in someone's house. some time later they are walking and they see the man who was following them before. He catches the two ghost,they are realy scare until the man explains what he is there for. he explains that he used to work whit their parents and that he knows how to bring them back to life and find out what happened to their family.He also explains to Max that he has to trade brains whit mr. Harvey,a chimpanzee.Max is scared and he doesn't want to trade brains whit him.after a while Nick and Tara are able to convense him.Finally they find out that everything was a trap and that dr.Smollet just wanted revange because he said that nicky and tara's parents ruined his life.There is a lot of confusion because every one starts to change brains whit every one.finally nicky,tara and max are able to stop dr.Smollet.
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By Justin's_girl_2006 on January 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
i love it when the guy puts headphons on max and max shakes his head back and forth trying to toss them off!
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By Sheila L. Eckersley on November 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
my daughter enjoyed this book so much, she can't wait to read more like it.....
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By Barbara Lach on November 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My grandson loves these books.
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