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Slappy Birthday to You is the first book in the Goosebumps SlappyWorld series and the ninth book in the Living Dummy saga. It was published in February of 2017.

The cover art shows Slappy viciously emerging from a wrapped birthday present with an evil smirk on his face.   

Blurb

It is bad enough Ian Barker has to spend his twelfth birthday with his younger sister, Molly, and their two annoying cousins, Vinny and Jonny. The four of them can't ever hang out without getting themselves into trouble. And Vinny and Jonny always want to play with Ian's stuff, always taking turns and breaking everything that they touch. Even Ian's new birthday presents are up for grabs. But when Ian gets Slappy from his dad, things go from bad to worse. Because when Slappy is in charge, you don't fight over him, he fights over you!           

Plot

Ian and his sister Molly start their morning by eating blueberry pancakes for breakfast, they fight over the last piece, then Ian goes to the basement, where Mr. Barker is repairing a doll, he has a doll hospital, and he's working on hundreds of dolls. There are loud knocks on the door, Ian answers it, only to get punched by Jonny, one of his cousins, his excuse was he kept on knocking when Ian answered the door, he and his brother Vinny eat some of Ian's cupcakes, and later go upstairs to play PlayStation video games, the children get in a fight because the two boys were cheating, so Mrs. Barker tells Ian it's time to open presents, only to break up the fight. Ian's first present is a remote-controlled Star Wars BB-8 figure, that Vinny and Jonny "tested". Then, Ian got Slappy, and he automatically loved him, because he always wanted a ventriloquist dummy, Mr. Barker said it belonged to someone and he asked him to repair it, but he never came back for it, a year past, so he decided to give the dummy to Ian, and so Molly wouldn't feel left out, he gives her a 1930's Pasty Doll, which she names Abigail.

Slappy interrupts the story to explain why Ian always wanted a dummy.

Three years ago on Ian's ninth Birthday, Mr. Barker takes him to a doll museum, owned by a creepy guy named Mr. Klausmann, who wears a baby doll mask because he claims that his face is so ugly that people will get nightmares. He shows him a ventriloquist dummy room, and Ian is fascinated with them all and plays with two of them, Farmer Joe, and Mr. Fancypants, then all the sudden, everyone disappears, and the dummies begin laughing on their own. Ian runs into a woman in a black blouse, and Ian asks her where Dr. Klausmann went, but she says a person by that name doesn't work there. Ian finds his dad, who tells him that the events were just a prank. Ian thought it was scary but clever, and that's why Ian always wanted a ventriloquist dummy.

Back to the present day, Jonny and Vinny play with Slappy, and they break his hand, so Mr. Barker fixes him, and the boys go watch a horror film on Netflix. Ian's Uncle Donny tells the kids that they're going to have a family talent show, and Ian begins practicing his act. Later that day, Molly discovers that Slappy has his own Wikipedia page, and the article talks about the curse that brings him to life, Jonny finds the spell, Karru Marri Odonna Loma Molonu Karrano, and reads it out loud, but Slappy doesn't come to life, yet. When Ian goes to bed, he dreams that Jonny and Vinny where dummies and they slap each other.    

The next day, Abigail is found with her head broken, Molly accuses Ian of doing it, and that's when Ian notices something odd about Slappy. At the talent show, Vinny and Jonny juggle duckpins, but one of the pins knocks Jonny out cold, and Slappy begins laughing, and Ian's parents think he's making Slappy do that, Jonny's fine, but when Molly goes next, Abigail is missing, she finds the doll in the fish tank, Molly gets mad at Ian and pushes him in the fish tank and the glass shatters, Mrs. Barker cleans it up, when Ian went last, Slappy made horrible nasty jokes on his own, making fun of the family, Mr. Barker sends Ian to his room, and Slappy begins Cackling at Ian. That night, Slappy is nowhere to be found, Ian assumes he walked out of the house.

Slappy interrupts again and tells what Jonny and Vinny are up to.           

That morning, it is revealed that Vinny and Jonny took Slappy to scare Ian, but then, Slappy comes to life, starts punching and kicking the two boys, and covers them in this green goo which he calls, "his nosebleed" and the goo burns the boys. Slappy wants them to take him back to the Barker house, to get the spell, so he'll stay alive forever, they go to the house, and Slappy begins vandalizing the garage, Mr. Barker sees the damage, and the two brothers are blamed for the damage.

Ian knows that Vinny and Jonny were telling the truth about Slappy, so they go to the doll hospital to get the spell, but Slappy snatches it first. Their dad witnesses Slappy tearing the sheet of paper to shreds. Mr. Barker holds Slappy down and Ian removes his head, but that doesn't stop him. Slappy rises up, and he brings all the broken dolls to life. The army of dolls begins to attack the kids, but then, Abigail comes to life and says the spell. Slappy's headless body drops down lifeless.

The kids cheer for their victory, and Mr. Barker apologized to Ian for giving him Slappy for his birthday, but Abigail is still alive, and she commands her new slaves to go make her lunch.

International releases

Audiobook

Audiobook Release date Length Narrated by Published by
Slappybirthdaytoyou-audiobook
March 14, 2017 2 hours, 51 minutes Joe Fria and Lucien Dodge Scholastic Inc.

Pre-release

R.L. Stine announced the title of the book in a comment on Twitter on July 18, 2016.[1] The cover was revealed a week and a half later. An eBay seller sold three uncorrected proof copies of Slappy Birthday to You in October 2016, four months before the book's official release.[2]

Uncorrected proof

GbSW1 uncorrected
  • The cover is slightly thicker and glossier than the final release. The colors are more saturated than the final release cover. There is a blue banner strip across the top of the cover that reads, "UNCORRECTED PROOF - NOT FOR SALE"
  • The back cover has the same purple gradient as the final release. There is another blue strip across the top that reads, "UNCORRECTED PROOF - NOT FOR SALE / PAPERBACK ON-SALE DATE FEBRUARY 28, 2017" Below this is the tagline on the final release in italics, "THIS IS SLAPPY'S WORLD - YOU ONLY SCREAM IN IT!" Below this is the same description as on the final release. Below this, instead of a teaser of the next book and ISBN, there is instead a blue box that reads, 
National Marketing Campaign
  •  National Publicity
  • Select Author Events
  • Display
  • Digital Consumer Advertising
  • Social Media Campaign
  • Promotional Item For Author Events and Conventions
  • The binding of the book is the same as the final release. Everything on the side is moved down slightly to make room for a small black box, separated by a thin white line. within the box it reads, "Feb 28, 2017"
  • The pages within are white and smooth. The page following the front cover has some basic info about the final release, such as the ISBN number, the release date, and the approx. page count. The booklist on the following pages are unchanged. On the page with the series logo, SLAPPYWORLD is white instead of black. There is no preview, nor even mention of the next book in the series anywhere within the book.

Trivia

  • The title is a reference to the song "Happy Birthday to You".
  • The title is similar to the thirty-ninth Give Yourself Goosebumps book, Scary Birthday to You!.
  • This is the first book cover to feature Slappy in his movie design
  • The book references the iPad, Wikipedia, Star Wars, YouTube, Harry Potter, PlayStation, Netflix, and Animal Planet.
    • Ironically enough, in the story, Ian reads the spell on Slappy's Wikipedia page (which actually exists). In real life, the spell actually appears on the page.
  • This book introduces a brand new ability for Slappy: he has a "nosebleed" of green goo that burns people.
  • Slappy says the name of the series, SlappyWorld, while attacking Jonny and Vinny.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Barker's first names are mentioned in the book: George and Hannah Barker.
  • Molly's doll Abigail revealing herself to be alive is similar to Bride of the Living Dummy, where Katie and Amanda Zinman's doll Mary-Ellen was revealed to be alive.
  • This is the only Goosebumps SlappyWorld so far to be written in the third person.
  • At one point, Vinny says the phrase "It's alive! It's alive!" This would later become the title for a different book in the SlappyWorld series.

Reference

  1. R.L. Stine on Twitter: "Yes. Watch for Slappy Birthday to You!"
  2. eBay: Slappy Birthday to You uncorrected proof copy
Goosebumps SlappyWorld series
#01 Slappy Birthday to You#05 Escape from Shudder Mansion#09 Revenge of the Invisible Boy
#02 Attack of the Jack#06 The Ghost of Slappy#10 Diary of a Dummy
#03 I Am Slappy's Evil Twin#07 It's Alive! It's Alive!#11 They Call Me the Night Howler!
#04 Please Do Not Feed the Weirdo#08 The Dummy Meets the Mummy!
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