Saturday, October 16, 2010

Monster Chuckles

by Adam Rex
Harcourt Children's Books (Spetember 2006)
Ages 4-8

Monsters make great stories, but do they make a good sandwich? Adam Rex answers these and other pressing questions with a resounding mmmph! mmmph! in FRANKENSTEIN MAKES A SANDWICH, a fun and fabulous collection of illustrated monster rhymes.

From Frankenstein's culinary challenges to the Creature from the Black Lagoon's swimming cramps,  Rex tells it like it isn't. The rhyming narratives flirt with scary legends by poking fun at prominent baddies, like Dracula who's got an embarrassing problem in Count Dracula Doesn't Know He's Been Walking Around with Spinach in His Teeth.

Rex has fun toying with the reality of monsters who have to deal with mundane issues, but he also manages to turn the mundane into the monsterish with The Dentist (a scary topic in its own right) whose described by Frankenjunior as having hooks for fingers and a giant glowing eye for a head.

One of the delights of this collection is a running gag with the Phantom of the Opera's inability to rid his mind of maddening tunes like It's a Small World and B-I-N-G-O—something everyone can relate to. This recurring theme also has the effect of subtlety tying the collection together.

The real star of this wickedly entertaining variety show, however, is Rex's mad gift of illustration. Talk about range--the illustrations run from classic monster film creep show to black and white comic strip and full-color, eye-popping paintings. It's a bit like strolling through an old-time fun house.

There are oodles of monster books, but very few that have oodles of monsters worth their weight in gore. FRANKENSTEIN MAKES A SANDWICH is definitely worthy of a permanent place on the bookshelf.

Source: I bought my copy at Orca Books.

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