Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and Other Stories You’re Sure to Like, Because They’re All About Monsters, and Some of Them Are Also About Food. You Like Food, Don’t You? Well, All Right Then. (book review)

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich

All Frankenstein wanted was something to eat and thought a kind neighbor might lend him some bread.  Instead he received quite a shocking reaction.  “They threw tomatoes, pigs, potatoes, loaves of moldy bread.  And then a thought struck Frankenstein as pickles struck his head.”   So begins the multiple stories which poke fun at monsters and scary fairy tales.

 

In this book of monstrous rhymes by Adam Rex the reader is introduced to another side of our nightmares.  These are not the type of monsters that are meant to frighten and cause you to dive under the sheets.  Instead these monsters show us a gentler, more emotional side as they reveal their own fears.  For example, when Dracula is seen with spinach in his teeth the other monsters are scared to tell him and the idea of providing him with a toothpick was unthinkable.  That is because offering a toothpick to Count Dracula would give him a nervous tick.  It is after all is a pointed stick.

 

The pages are filled with delightfully strange graphics with a hint of dark undertones.  None of the illustrations are scary although they imply to be frightening.  These types of illustrative contradictions are evident in the text as well.  One moment the reader is chuckling and the next the reader is stuck between confused and appalled.  For instance, in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Henderson there seems to be an element of total confusion within the rhyme.  Actually there is a Barnes & Noble post by Whitney Collins about children’s books that make you feel drunk.  After reading through Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich you may be left scratching your head as to why this picture books didn’t make the drunkenness cut.

 

However, not all the pages of text will have you scratching your head.  There are examples of beautiful imagery that paint a picture better than any illustration.  “When evening came and nighttime spilled its ink across the sky” beautifully showed the time of day when witches leave for a trip. Just the use of imagery makes this book worthy of reading

 

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich earned the best book nod from Amazon, Kirkus, NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and the American Booksellers Association in 2006.  This story is shelved in the children’s sections of libraries and reviewed as a children’s book and rightly so.  It is after all just fun to read.  Younger students will appreciate seeing their monsters in a new light.  Plus Zombie Zombie provides an interesting introduction to the graphic novel.

 

However, with the advanced vocabulary and societal aspects such as why would the Hunchback be considered a monster, this book could easily transcend middle and high school.  This book is versatile.  The use of imagery can provide creative writing students an opportunity to examine the pictures the words paint.  Also each rhyme could be connected with a famous literary monster in the classics, such as Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.  Both are wonderfully written books, and paired together can make an interesting study.  Students could examine the social issues monsters face with those of everyday life.

 

Plus, this book is full of little idiosyncrasies that the reader could spend hours exploring. For instance, don’t miss the note at the bottom of page 24 (the beginning of the Dr. Jekyll rhyme) for additional information about the Invisible Man, Witches, and when fire should applied to monsters.  Also take note of the verso page, across from the Menu, which features a picture result of the Invisible Man Makes a Snow Angel, 1897.  Overall, this book is an interesting piece that will bring a smile to monster enthusiasts.

 

Menu:

  • Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich
  • The Creature from the Black Lagoon Doesn’t Wait an Hour before Swimming
  • The Phantom of the Opera Can’t Get “It’s a Small World” Out of His Head
  • The Middlewich Witch-Watchers Club:  A Club Which Watches Witches
  • An Open Letter from Wolfman’s Best Friend
  • The Invisible Man Gets a Haircut
  • The Phantom of the Opera Still Cant’ Get “It’s a Small World” Out of His Head
  • Count Dracula Doesn’t Know He’s Been Walking Around All Night with Spinach in His Teeth
  • The Mummy Won’t Go To His Eternal Rest without a Story and Some Cookies
  • The Yeti Doesn’t Appreciate Being Called Bigfoot  (not nearly as good)
  • If The Phantom of the Opera Can’t Get “Pop Goes the Weasel” Out of His head He’s Going to Freak Out
  • The Lunchsack of Notre Dame
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Henderson  (reference to Barnes and Noble Drunk post)
  • Zombie Zombie (graphic novel like) (Tongue Twister)
  • Now The Phantom of the Opera Can’t Get “The Girl from Ipanema” Out of his Head
  • The Dentist
  • The Phantom of the Opera is Considering Giving Up Music and Doing His Haunting Somewhere Else
  • Bigfoot Can’t Believe You Called Him Yeti Just Now
  • Godzilla Pooped On My Honda

 

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and Other Stories You’re Sure to Like, Because They’re All About Monsters, and Some of Them Are Also About Food.  You Like Food, Don’t You? Well, All Right Then. by Alex Rex can be found at your local library or purchased at your local bookstore for approximately $16 hardback or $8 paperback.  For ages 10+

Creepy Carrots! short book review

Creepy Carrots!

Could carrots creep around the corner?  In this 2013 Caldecott Honor Book the reader is led into the mind of a rabbit consumed by the thought of monstrous carrots.  However, these are not ordinary carrots.  These are the type of carrots that hide as orange toys, flowers, and tools.  At least that is what young Jasper thinks.  His parents on the other hand can not see the carrots lurking around the corner.  Mom tells him that, “there’s no such thing as creepy carrots.”  Dad shakes his head and explains that he is having bad dreams.  What is a young rabbit to do when no one believes he is being stalked?

In this fun parody horror book by Aaron Reynolds the reader is provided with a background story about why carrots might stalk a young rabbit.  The reader is left with just enough contradictions to wonder if Jasper is simply paranoid.  This is due to the illustrations by Peter Brown which cleverly disguise the carrots as ordinary items that a child might see in everyday life.

Within the book’s pages dull grays are overshadowed by the orangey colors of carrots and non-creepy carrot like items.  A game could be played of “if it’s not a carrot then what is it?”  In which guesses could be made of what Jasper’s sees to what is really lurking on the next page.  Children may also want to explore the irony of a rabbit fearing carrots.  After all, don’t rabbits love their veggies?  Another learning idea could include creating alternative endings to how Jasper conquers his fear of carrots.

Creepy Carrots! is a fun tale of how to come up with solutions, conquer your fears, and to believe in what you think is true.  Geared for children in Pre-School-2nd grade it can be checked out at your local library or purchased at a local bookstore for around $16.99.

Achy Christmas

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What a night! 1000+ visitors for our Christmas in the Farm event! Countless questions & even more countless informational speeches about the formal parlor, the Civil War, & the real Christmas tree.

Tonight was a huge success, but I know I’m going to pay for it in the morning. You see I was dressed in 1870’s period clothing, including those awful archless, padless shoes. The shoes I eventually stood in for 6 hours of my 10 hour shift.

Oh, but it was so worth every moment. We educated people of all ages & we were even educated by former founders & employees. It was wonderful to have the 4th great grandson of the industrial owner owner visit & it was a treat to visit with a woman whom worked at the state park before it became a state park. However, the best reason to have sore feet were the children. Not just those who visited, but also those who volunteered & stood in equally uncomfortable shoes. (although I’d bet their young feet faired better than my 40 year old feet)

Regardless of whose feet hurt worse the important factor to focus on are the educational benefits of the night. I know I learned & fell in love a little more with history, but can you imagine the inspiration & love of history that was established in those future leaders who visited & volunteered tonight? The thought brings me comfort.

Merry Achy Christmas & a Happy Learning New Year!