November 6, 2012

The Frankenstein Bookshelf

I think we agree, Frankenstein themes permeate popular culture and The Monster is an iconic presence. As further proof, if needed, these recent books…

For very young readers, The Monster’s Monster (Little, Brown & Company), by multiple award-winning writer and artist Patrick McDonnell, fields a friendly flat-top creature. “There’s nothing scary about him” reports the New York Times. “He’s actually quite endearing. His story is rather sweet.” The picture book blog 32 Pages says, “More Zen than Karloff, this Frankensteinian monster is the epitome of reverence, kindness and gratitude.”

Frankenstein, A Monstrous Parody (Feiwel & Friends), by “Ludworst Bemonster” (writer Rick Walton and artist Nathan Hale) is set in a creepy old castle where 12 ugly monsters reside. Frankenstein, we are told, is the ugliest of all!

The authors’ nom-de-plume and rhyming style are gentle jabs at Ludwig Bemelman’s classic Madeline books. The Washington Post reviewer promised readers they’d be “howling at the moon over this witty mash-up.”

For YA readers, Bekka Black’s iFrankenstein updates the Mary Shelley novel and formats the story as data transmitted by email, cellphone text, tweets and uploaded pics. Here, young Victor is a “computer nerd” and his Monster is a chatbot, a virtual creature who, like the classic flesh and blood Monster, escapes the control of his creator.

Appropriately, iFrankenstein is available exclusively as a digital download for Kindle and, soon, as an iPad App.

High on my list of must read books is Chris Priestley’s Mister Creecher, filling in previously unknown details of The Monster’s time in London and his friendship with a 15-year old street urchin. A writer of spooky tales and a damn fine illustrator, Priestley’s take on Frankenstein has been collecting all kinds of special mentions and award nominations. The Guardian called it “(an) ambitious novel… a stylish and atmospheric page-turner”.

Priestley keeps an excellent website and a fascinating blog. I’ll be returning to this tantalizing title soon as I get my hands on it.

Meanwhile, one more book review to come and we’ll wrap up our Frankenstein Book Month event. 

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