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Tara Webster is the bratty younger sister of Michael Webster and the main antagonist of the twenty-eighth Goosebumps book, The Cuckoo Clock of Doom, as well as its television adaptation.


Tara has been making Michael's life miserable for the last five years. She loved getting him into trouble with his parents and making him look bad in front of everyone.

There was one time when she had framed Michael for stealing from a boy named Kevin Flowers' favorite cap by putting it in his backpack while he and the others were playing a basketball game and getting her brother pounded by Kevin. Then after torturing their cat Bubba, who hated Tara as much as Michael did, she embarrassed him by exposing him in his room in his underwear to Mona, a girl that he had a crush on and her friends when he was trying to put a costume on for a play that they were doing.

Tara's biggest blow was when she ruined Michael's birthday party. First she ruined Michael's new bike by scratching it when she fell off of it when trying to ride it. Then while Michael's friends were over, Tara embarrassed him by telling Mona that he really likes her and opened his presents for him, one of which was a CD from Mona and Tara told Michael that she heard that there are some great love songs on it. And when it was cake time, Tara tripped Michael over while he was carrying the cake, causing him to fall on top of it and getting laughed at by his friends even his own crush Mona. And Tara never got into trouble for anything she did to her brother.

Three days later, after Tara got Michael in trouble for tracking gum in the house, their father brought home a mysterious cuckoo clock that he had been wanting to buy for years and it was put into the den. When Mr. Webster told his kids not to touch the dial, there was a loud gong and a mean-looking bird came out startling Michael, to which Tara teased him about. Their father then explained that the clock came from the Black Forest of Germany and it was supposed to be enchanted as legend has it that a strange and old man who built it had magical powers and put a spell on the clock and if anyone knew the secret, they can use the clock to go back in time. And then Mr. Webster told his children not to touch the clock. After Tara stomped on Michael's foot and had him shouted at, she told her parents that she had to use the encyclopedia to read about the gold rush when Michael said he needed to use it in the den for his homework, while in reality, she wanted to hang around the den and bug him. Then Tara put on a monster costume that she wore for Halloween and hid in the cuckoo clock and when Michael came over to examine it, Tara jumped out and scared him. And when Mr. Webster appeared at the stairs to see what was going on, Tara told him that Michael was fiddling with the clock, getting her brother in trouble once again, infuriating him.

Some time later, Tara was caught playing with the clock hands by her father. She didn't get in real trouble, but her father said that he had his eye on her and told her not to play with the clock. Tara didn't realize that this had given Michael the idea of paying her back for the terrible things she had done to him and later that night, he went downstairs to turn the bird's head around, hoping to get her in trouble. But by doing so, Michael had turned time around and he had to live through the terrible things Tara had done to him again. At a repeated dinner, he tried to explain to Tara and their parents what was going on, but they didn't believe him and they played a joke on him by pretending to be talking and doing everything backwards.

It was later revealed that Tara had always been a brat the minute she was born as when she was three years old, she had teased Bubba and yanked on Michael's hair, making him retaliate by shoving her; at the age of two, she asked Michael for a kiss and poked him in the eye. Tara had disappeared when Michael had gone back in time to when he was five years old, as she hadn't been born at that time.

Michael eventually managed to get time forward to his birthday once again, but this time Tara wasn't anywhere to be seen. As a result, Michael had a good day for a change, and when the cuckoo clock was delivered once again, he examined it to see why Tara had disappeared and saw that the year she was born, 1988, was missing, therefore creating a paradox for her. It's unknown if Michael eventually went back in time to get Tara or not, but given all the bad things that she had done to him, it's likely that he didn't.

General information

Physical appearance

Tara is seven-years-old, Caucasian, short, and skinny, with a wide red mouth like a clown's, and stringy brown hair that she wears in two pigtails. People also say that she and Michael look alike which Michael hates.


Tara is extremely cruel to her brother. She loved getting Michael into trouble, making his life miserable and making him look bad was Tara's mission in life, which is why she earned the nickname, Tara the Terrible by her brother. What was worse is that Tara never seemed to show any empathy to Michael, never having the slightest guilt of the bad things she had done to him or any conscience.

She is very skilled at acting out her innocence, to which her parents easily fall for and as a result, Tara rarely gets into trouble. However, Tara did have her own moments of scolding, such as when her father told her not to touch the Cuckoo Clock and her mother told her not to say shut up at the dinner table. Tara is taunting and quite a devious girl, who easily gets away with her wrongdoings, but all of this becomes her undoing thanks to Michael inadvertently rigging the clock which causes her to be wiped from existence.

List of appearances


Television and film


  • Tara is the first female human antagonist in the Goosebumps series and also the youngest antagonist in the original series. The only antagonists that are younger than Tara are the babies of the Tales to Give You Goosebumps story Strained Peas and its television adaptation.
  • In the Give Yourself Goosebumps book, Deep in the Jungle of Doom, Cronby the Troll tests the reader's knowledge to see if they can guess Tara's name.
  • Tara's personality is akin to a sociopath, taking delight in being cruel to her brother and feeling no empathy towards him or anyone else. This behavior isn't helped by her parents always taking her side and not Michael's.
  • Before he started writing The Cuckoo Clock of Doom, R. L. Stine was approached by a young girl whose name was Tara while he was signing books in a bookstore. Tara asked R. L. Stine to make her a character in a Goosebumps book and she also wanted her character to be bad, so the character named Tara was made for the story.
  • In the 2003 reprint of The Cuckoo Clock of Doom, Tara was born in 1996 instead of 1988. In the 2015 e-book version, her birth year is changed to 2008.
  • In the book, Tara wears her hair in two pigtails, but in the television series, she wears her hair down.

References in other Goosebumps media

  • In Goosebumps: The Game, if you remove the 1988 plate on the cuckoo clock, one of the ghosts in the hallway will vanish from existence. This is in reference to how Tara was erased from time.