Noah (aka Bean) is plump and rather shy. He has one really good friend, Lissa, from his Sternom House apartment complex, and he would like to try out for the swim team, but he keeps having horrible nightmares about monsters chasing him and drowning him. His rocket scientist mother and pet store owner father blame his nerves over swim tryouts, and even Bean himself can attribute some of his nerves to local bully Harlan, who routinely takes his lunch, pushes him down into the mud, and generally makes his life miserable. He's glad when Morton moves into the apartment complex, but he starts to suspect that Morton may be the monster he sees cropping up all over the place. Bean is being threatened by the monster, who leaves a dead gerbil and notes for him that he's "next", and the monster finally attacks at the school's pet show. Bean gets blamed for this. Will he be able to figure out who the monster really is so he can get rid of his nightmares? And will the monster be his answer to his bully problem?
Stine is the master of juvenile horror for many reasons. He creates monsters that are scary but not realistic at all, so even though they are scary, children know that they aren't a real threat. The chapters tend to end in cliffhangers and scary moments that turn out to be something benign, but get the blood pumping nonetheless. The adults never believe that anything bad is happening until it is way too late. There are plenty of gross things, as well as embarrassing incidents as well. (Bean is completely pantsed at swim tryouts.) While these are offered as comic relief, those are the REAL fears that children have. I think that one of the reason that children like these books so much is taht adults don't!