October 2, 2012
In this new picture book, Frank, a boy who longs to have a kid brother to play with, decides to build himself one. Blueprints are drawn, scrap metal parts are assembled and, with a click of its nose switch, Stan, the robot, comes alive.
Stan is Frank’s best friend and he even fits in as a family member, helping with household chores. Then, one day, Mom has a surprise for Frank: A new baby sister, named Mary. As little Mary grows, she gets all the attention and by the time she turns two, Stan the robot feels left out and, one night, he leaves.
Frank’n’Stan wears its Frankenstein references proudly. The boy’s name is Franklin P. Shelley, his sister is Mary. Frank finds parts at Byron’s junkyard, and there’s a copy of Frankenstein at his elbow, on his drafting table, when he draws up his plan. When Stan leaves, it’s winter, and Frank will travel through snow and storm to find and bring home his robot brother. The winter scene search for Stan clearly echoes Frankenstein’s arctic pursuit.
British writer and artist M.P.Robertson’s books for children include The Egg — it hatched a dragon! — and its sequels. Robertson works in a traditional, realistic style that suits this Frankenstein story to perfection, with lots of details drawn in for young readers (of all ages!) to pore over. Try spotting where the cat is on every page.
Frank’n’Stan is 32 pages, all in color. The black and white illustration shown here, a lovely Frankenstein reference, is from the end papers.
Frank’n’Stan by M.P.Robertson is aimed at readers 5 and up. It is published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.