Author: Samantha Berger
Illustrator: Dan Santat
Published: Scholastic, 2013
If you’ve been reading this blog at all, you’ll know that I am a *huge* Dan Santat fan. Like, massive. My favourite picture book of all (After the Fall) is 100% Dan-Santat-created, and I truly love everything else he’s done. You better believe I’m a Fantat (Fantat copyright Jess, 2018).
Anyway, Vivi brought home her Scholastic book order in October and I found a book that Mr. Santat illustrated. One I hadn’t heard of (and therefore didn’t own). Crankenstein. I promptly ordered it and waited.
I thought maybe I’d review it for Halloween. But life happened. (Read: Vivi has had pneumonia and we’ve been house-bound and away from school for TWO WEEKS.) The first afternoon back, Vivi’s (amazing) teacher had a large box of books for us. Among them: Crankenstein. I’m not gonna lie, I read it in the car in the driveway.
It’s the tale of a cranky little boy who turns into a Crankenstein (that’s a wonderful portmanteau of ‘cranky’ and ‘Frankenstein,’ of course) whenever there’s an uncomfortable/difficult situation. You know, like all kids do. When waiting in line, when having to deal with a dearth of maple syrup, when having a toy break or a popsicle melt or having to take horrible medicine (relatable!).
The story is simple but cute. But, as per usual, Dan Santat’s art is what makes this book really special. My favourite page of all is the one where the two Crankensteins meet and are glaring at each other. It is SO accurate. It’s EXACTLY what kids look like.
This book is definitely for the younger-end of the picture book age group. Vivi is “meh” on it (her words), but Lily likes it and has asked for it a few times. It would be a good one to have for a preschool/JK class for Halloween…a good way to tie in the special occasion and talk about how we can all be a bit monstrous sometimes.
And, as a hilarious side note: if you own this book, please read the legal page. Dan Santat has written a description of how the art was produced for the story. My favourite line is: “Crankenstein is the embodiment of Dan Santat’s pure rage…and he did it all for you.” Thanks, Dan!
Mama’s review: 4 cranky kids/5
Lily: “I like it!”