It is difficult not to like someone who is described as a person who draws, paints, spends too much time on the internet, likes animals, spacemen, puppets, monsters, bugs, roots and is usually in need of a shave. Arizona-based illustrator and writer of fiction that appeals to children, Adam Rex takes us to his world of vulnerable monsters through his book Frankenstein makes a Sandwich and Other Stories.
Monsters it seems have everyday problems that we humans do. Hair clogging drains, food stuck in the teeth, hunger, dentist visits. All the things that fill a human’s life. Twenty stories of monsters, luxuriously illustrated on glossy paper and published by Harcourt Inc. are a treat, literally.
Many of the stories have food as an intrinsic part of them. We read the sad story, of the little monster who did not pay heed to the advice of his mother and went for a swim right after food, only to die of cramps.
Frankenstein finds himself hungry one day and goes about asking his neighbours for food, only to be greeted with fear instead. They shoo away the hungry monster away by throwing pigs, potatoes, tomatoes and bread at him. Frankenstein is hurt by their rudeness but realises he has got the ingredients for a fab sandwich. A losing situation becomes a winning one because Frankenstein changes his view.
The Dentist takes us with young Dracula to his dentist’s visit. One would imagine nothing could scare young Dracula. The lights, the thought of a filling and a lollipop in cherry flavour only heighten the misery for little Dracula.
Uhhh…Dracula you have something stuck in your teeth
The Egyptian Mummy needs cookies and milk to sleep. Dr.Jekyls plans to go Hyde come to naught thanks to his maid who gives him a glass of milk rather than his form- changing- potion.
The font changes from page to page, so unlike a typical book. It is as if they too surprise us in their varying forms all across the book. The story of Mitchell and Von Fuzz start off on page 22 in one font but continue like a foot- note in another on page 23.
If onomatopoeia ( words that seem like sounds) and punctuation are on your mind, this is the book to sit with and make it fun for your child.
The illustrations too vary from story to story. Some are in black and white, still, others are rendered in rich colour. Several others look like sketches, but all of them are simply fabulous.
The book turns on its head every stereotype and by the end of it don’t be surprised if your child starts talking to the monster under their bed.