The cover illustration depicts a scar-faced snowman wearing a red scarf near a mailbox. The snowman has an evil expression on its "face," and its arms are raised menacingly.
NO MELTING ALLOWED!
Jaclyn used to live with her aunt Greta in Chicago. But not anymore. They've moved to a place called Sherpia. It's a tiny village on the edge of the Arctic Circle. Jaclyn can't believe she's stuck out in Nowheresville. No movie theaters. No malls. No nothing. Plus, there's something really odd about the village. At night there are strange howling noises. And in front of every house there's a snowman. A creepy snowman with a red scarf. A deep scar on his face. And a really evil smile...
Jaclyn DeForest lives with her aunt, Greta. Jaclyn's mother died when she was young, and she never knew her father because he disappeared after she was born. While moving to their new house in Sherpia, a small village on the edge of the Arctic Circle, Jaclyn remembers a poem that her mother used to read to her:
- "When the snows blow wild and the day grows old.
- Beware, the snowman, my child.
- Beware, the snowman.
- He brings the cold."
When Jaclyn arrives at her new house, she sees a snowman standing in her yard. Jaclyn and Aunt Greta unpack. After they're finished, Jaclyn goes exploring. She meets a local boy named Eli, and his sister, Rolonda, both of whom seem nice. When Jaclyn expresses a desire to climb one of the nearby mountains, the siblings become distressed, warning her not to go near the mountains. Eli and Rolanda leave shortly thereafter. Jaclyn finds that there are many near-identical snowmen scattered around the village. Made curious by the siblings warnings, Jaclyn begins walking along the road up the mountain. Jaclyn sees a cabin and knocks on the door to see if anyone's home, but it slowly swings open. She looks inside to see if anyone's there, but she is tackled by a ferocious wolf. The wolf, named Wolfbane, is called off by an intimidating man with a bushy white beard.
Scared, Jaclyn runs off for the top of the mountain. The man tries to stop her, and tells her to beware the snowman. Jaclyn is then chased to the bottom of the mountain by Wolfbane. On her way home, Jaclyn is greeted by Rolonda. The two girls talk, and Rolonda reveals that the old man on the mountain is named Conrad. Rolonda mentions a snowman at the top of the mountain, but she refuses to say more. When Jaclyn goes home, she asks her aunt about the snowman. Her aunt seems very nervous at first, but quickly dismisses the snowman as just a superstition.
That night, Jaclyn sneaks outside. She feels like she's being chased, so she goes back in. When she lies down, she hears a whispered voice warning her about the snowman. The next day, Aunt Greta assures Jaclyn that the whispers were just a dream. Jaclyn foes outside and gets caught in a snowstorm, but is found by Rolonda. The kids head inside of a local church. Rolonda begins explaining the backstory of the snowman. Many years ago, a male and female sorcerer lived in their village. The sorcerers brought a snowman to life, but they lost control of the creature. The snowman tried to destroy the town. The village residents rally together to chase the snowman to the top of the mountain. Now, all of the residents build snowmen in the hopes of pacifying the evil snowman.
Jaclyn is skeptical of the story. Jaclyn walks Rolonda hom and after Rolonda is inside, Eli approaches Jaclyn and tells her that he saw the snowman. Jaclyn goes home. While looking for her aunt, she finds a cold puddle on the floor. Aunt Greta returns home, and Jaclyn tells her she was worried that a snowman had broken in. Aunt Greta reassures Jaclyn that the snowman is only superstition. The next day, Jaclyn goes outside and meets Eli and Rolonda. Jaclyn tells them that she wants to go to the cave at the top of the mountain. The siblings refuse to go, but they agree to distract Conrad for a long enough time to allow Jaclyn to get up to the cave.
Eli and Rolonda talk to Conrad, which gives Jaclyn time to climb the mountain. From the mouth of the cave, Jaclyn sees the snowman. The snowman demands to know who the girl is, and she replies honestly. Upon hearing her name, the snowman says that he's her father. The snowman tells Jaclyn that her aunt is a sorceress, and cursed him to stay in the cave. Since the spell only lasts ten years, Aunt Greta had to return to Sherpia to renew the spell. The snowman says that the key to his freedom is clued in the second verse of the poem that her mother used to read to her.
Aunt Greta suddenly appears and tells Jaclyn that she had been the one whispering warnings to the girl. She knew about the snowman the whole time, and she says that the snowman is not Jaclyn's father. The sorcerer and sorceress from Rolonda's tale were Jaclyn's real parents. Aunt Greta has a copy of the full poem that her mother used to read, and she tries to throw the piece of paper off of the cliff, but Jaclyn catches the page. Jaclyn manages to see the full poem before her aunt can take it. Jaclyn recites the missing verse:
- "When the snows melt
- And the warm sun is with thee,
- Beware, the snowman —
- For the snowman shall go free!"
The snowman begins melting, revealing a monster underneath. The snowman grabs Aunt Greta and Jaclyn and almost throws them off of the mountain. The monster drops the two humans when he sees an army of snowmen marching towards him. The snowmen collectively crush the monster. When asked by Jaclyn, Aunt Greta cannot explain what caused the snowmen to march up the mountain. Unexpectedly, Conrad appears and reveals that he had brought the snowmen to life, he was the sorcerer in the old story, and he is Jaclyn's father. According to Conrad, Eli and Rolonda had warned him that Jaclyn was going up to the cave. Conrad says that he stayed in Sherpia because he felt a responsibility to protect the town from the monster that he helped create, but he also felt horrible about leaving Jaclyn.
The group begins to leave the mountain, but, before they can, they are surrounded by the snowmen that Conrad brought to life. One snowman walks forward and asks if they can head back down to the village, as it is cold on the mountain.
Reprints and rereleases
Beware, the Snowman received its first and only reprint in October 2006.
2003 - 2007 reprint series
- In France, this book is the 44th of the Goosebumps series. Its name is "Abominables bonhommes de neige", which translates to Abominable Snowmen.
- Jaclyn is called "Jane."
- When the Snowman says that he is Jaclyn's father, she cries out, “Nooooooo!” Following this, she shouts, "that’s impossible!” This is likely an allusion to the revelation of Darth Vader as Luke Skywalker's father in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.
- The plot of this book shares some similarities with the first Goosebumps Most Wanted book, Planet of the Lawn Gnomes. The concept of a neighborhood having the same lawn gnomes outside every house is similar to having the same snowman on every lawn in this book.
- The blurb on the back of the original printing contains a typo, saying "used to lived" (rather than "used to live"). This was fixed in the 2006 reprint.
- This book references the Chicago Bulls.
- The front tagline is a pun on the phrase 'heart of gold'.
- The 2018 ebook removes uses of "crazy", as well Conrad being called "nuts"
- "Carton" is changed to "box".
- "I wanted to climb up to the ice cave this morning" is changed to "I want to climb up to the ice cave this afternoon".
References in other Goosebumps media
- There is a quest based on this book in Goosebumps HorrorTown.
- In the 2008 video game Goosebumps HorrorLand, this book's cover art is used for one of the monster cards that can be collected in the game.