The Werewolf of Fever Swamp
First edition cover
|Author||R. L. Stine|
|Cover artist||Tim Jacobus|
|Genre||Horror fiction, children's literature|
|Media type||Print (paperback)|
|Pages||123 (first edition)|
|LC Class||MLC R CP01334|
|Preceded by||Piano Lessons Can Be Murder|
|Followed by||You Can't Scare Me!|
The Werewolf of Fever Swamp is the fourteenth book in Goosebumps, the series of children's horror fiction novellas created and authored by R. L. Stine. The story follows Grady Tucker, who moves into a new house with his parents next to the Fever Swamp. After a swamp deer is murdered, his father believes Grady's dog is responsible, but Grady is convinced a werewolf is the culprit. One reviewer felt the book built up suspense by hiding the identity of the werewolf until the end.
The Werewolf of Fever Swamp was featured on the USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller list. In the mid-1990s, the book was adapted for television, and it was later released on both VHS and DVD. In 2006, the book was adapted into a comic book story in the volume Creepy Creatures.
Grady Tucker and his sixteen-year-old sister Emily have both moved to a new house next to Fever Swamp with their scientist parents. Their father, Michael Tucker, studied deer in Vermont until he came into possession of six swamp deer from South America. They moved to Florida so he could test his hypothesis that swamp deer can survive in Florida. Though he keeps them in a pen in the backyard for now, Tucker intends to release the deer with tracking collars into the wild.
Grady and his sister get lost while exploring the swamp, and they meet a swamp hermit who lives in a shack. As the hermit chases after them, Grady and Emily run away, eventually making their way back home. A few days later, as Grady is going outside to meet Will Blake, one of his new friends, a big stray dog jumps onto Grady. Grady thinks the dog resembles more a wolf than a dog, and decides to call the dog Wolf. One morning, Will tells him that a neighbor, Ed Warner, went missing after hunting in the swamp. Cassie O'Rourke, a girl who lives in the neighborhood, suggests that a werewolf is the reason for Mr. Warner's disappearance.
After going out to investigate some howling, Grady finds a hole that had been ripped from the deer pen and a murdered deer laying on one side. Grady's father sees paw prints around the pen and blames Wolf for the murder. He plans on taking Wolf to the pound, but Grady is convinced that a werewolf killed the deer and other animals in town, and he helps the dog flee before his dad can capture Wolf. That night, Grady is awakened by howls and spots Wolf from his bedroom window, lingering in the direction of the swamp. As Grady follows the dog, he runs into Will, who claims that he heard the howls and decided to investigate them. While they are following Wolf, Grady gets separated from both Will and the dog.
Eventually, Grady ends up at the swamp hermit's shack, and begins to hear loud howling coming from nearby. Worried that the swamp hermit is a werewolf, he starts to flee before he is attacked by Will, the werewolf. Wolf reappears, attacks and fights off Will, but not before Will sinks his fangs into Grady's shoulder, causing Grady to become a werewolf. Subsequently, Grady passes out. When Grady regains consciousness, he learns from his mother that the swamp hermit found him and carried him home. His parents also let Grady keep Wolf after learning that the dog saved his life. During the next full moon, Grady (now a werewolf) and his dog go out to hunt.
Release and reception
The Werewolf of Fever Swamp was first published in December 1993 by Scholastic, and reissued in October 2009 under the Classic Goosebumps rename. The book was featured in USA Today's Top 150 Best-Selling Books database for 73 weeks, attaining a peak position of 24. In 2001, it was listed as the 209th bestselling children's paperback book of all time by Publishers Weekly, having sold 1,577,808 copies.
Gary Westfahl, writing in Science Fiction, Children's Literature, and Popular Culture: Coming of Age in Fantasyland, described the book as a story of victimization. FlavorWire's Kevin Pires, who listed it as his fifth favorite book in the Goosebumps series, called it a story of alienation and transformation. Writer Brian J. Frost felt The Werewolf of Fever Swamp was one of the best werewolf novels in the series, stating it "heightens the suspense by concealing the identity of the werewolf until the very end." An unknown reviewer from Kidzworld also liked the book, giving it a five out of five rating.
Television adaptation and home media
In the 1990s, The Werewolf of Fever Swamp was adapted into a television special, which first aired on May 17, 1996 on the Fox Network. The special was later split into two parts and denoted the 18th and 19th episodes of Goosebumps television series' first season. The special starred Brendan Fletcher as Grady Tucker, Maria Ricossa as Grady's mother, Mairon Bennett as Emily, Geoffrey Bowes as Grady's father, Michael Barry as Will, and Don Francks as the swamp hermit. Neal Shusterman wrote the special, while Steve Levitan served as producer, and William Fruet served as director. Kimberly M. Hutmacher from Kaboose described it as "a suspenseful well-crafted mystery."
The Werewolf of Fever Swamp was released on VHS in 1997. Billboard listed the video as the 19th best selling children's video in 1997, the only Goosebumps video on the list. In 2004, the TV special was also released on DVD.
Comic book story
Gabriel Hernandez adapted the book into a comic book story in Creepy Creatures, published on September 1, 2006 as the first book in the Goosebumps Graphix series. Kat Kan, writing for Booklist, stated that Hernandez "uses sketchy but expressive art to convey the spooky atmosphere" in the story, and the ""gotcha" ending of the tale is particularly well done." The comic book story is set to reappear in Goosebumps Graphix book Slappy's Tales of Horror, along with three other Goosebumps book adaptations.
- Stine, R. L. (October 2009). Classic Goosebumps #11: Werewolf of Fever Swamp. Scholastic. ISBN 0-545-15886-9.
- "Goosebumps: The Werewolf of Fever Swamp". USA Today. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
- Hochman Turvey, Diane (December 17, 2001). Roback, Diane; Britton, Jason, eds. "All-Time Bestselling Children's Books". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
- Westfahl, Gary (2000). Science Fiction, Children's Literature, and Popular Culture: Coming of Age in Fantasyland. Greenwood Press. pp. 44–45. ISBN 0-313-30847-0.
- Reese, Nathan (October 27, 2014). "The Definitive Ranking of All 62 Original "Goosebumps" Books". FlavorWire. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
- J. Frost, Brian (2003). The Essential Guide to Werewolf Literature. The University of Wisconsin Press. p. 234. ISBN 0-87972-859-0.
- "Scary Stories III: Goosebumps :: The Werewolf Of Fever Swamp Book Review". Kidzworld. September 21, 2009. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
- Martin, John (May 17, 1996). "Kids can get goosebumps from 'Swamp'". The Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
- The Werewolf of Fever Swamp (VHS). 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. 1997. ISBN 0-7939-4394-9.
- "Goosebumps - Episodes". Zap2it. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
- "Werewolf of Fever Swamp". New York Times. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
- M. Hutmacher, Kimberly. "Goosebumps- The Werewolf of Fever Swamp". Kaboose. Archived from the original on March 12, 2012. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
- "Top Kid Videos". Billboard 110 (2): 62. ISSN 0006-2510.
- The Werewolf of Fever Swamp (DVD). 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. 2004.
- Carter, R. J. (August 28, 2006). "Book Review: Goosebumps Graphix: Creepy Creatures". The Trades. Archived from the original on May 25, 2013. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
- Kan, Kat (October 1, 2006). "Creepy Creatures". Booklist 103 (3): 53. ISSN 0006-7385.
- "Slappy's Tales of Horror (Goosebumps Graphix)". Scholastic. Retrieved January 25, 2015.