Scholastic, $3.99, ISBN 0-590-67320-3
It’s interesting how peanut butter, jelly, and sandwiches feature quite frequently in Goosebumps stories. It’s perhaps to be expected that something like Beware of the Purple Peanut Butter will surface in the Give Yourself Goosebumps line!
Sadly, this one isn’t about hungry giant peanut butter jelly sandwiches on the prowl for kiddie flesh. The actual campaign is far more mundane.
You are forced to stay with your cousins Dora and Barney for the summer as your parents will rather forget that you exist and party it up in Europe. Unfortunately, Barney is a bully who is bigger and stronger than you, while Dora is a whiny brat who wants you to play with her and her dolls. Your cousins and their parents have just recently moved into this big house, and before they go off to work, your uncle and aunt warn you not to go into the basement, as it hasn’t been cleared yet and who knows what is in there. Of course you will sneak down there to hide from Barney.
While down there, you are hungry and you find two yummies in the old fridge. A container has very nice-smelling purple goop – that will be the peanut butter – while another container has a piece of chocolate cake. Which one will you eat? As the back cover reveals, slurping on the goop will shrink you down in size, while munching on the cake will make you get bigger – much bigger. And in case any cop is reading this, that last part of the previous sentence does not contain any double entendre, so there.
Of course, you can say that this one is a homage to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (are kids allowed to watch that?), but sadly, this one isn’t an interesting campaign. The expected pitfalls of being too big or too small happen like you expect them to, and even the bad endings are predictable because you have seen them many times before in various comics, movies, and whatever else. Nothing here feels really inventive or fresh – just going through the motions, really.
It’s hard to imagine this one working for the older crowd. Get it for your kids or your collection, but don’t expect to revisit this one often.