cover image Crankenstein


Samantha Berger, illus. by Dan Santat. Little, Brown, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-12656-4

Berger’s (Martha Doesn’t Share) sardonic riff on bad moods involves an unnamed narrator (Crankenstein’s parent, clearly) describing scenarios that turn an average boy into a drooling green monster. Berger’s writing is sharp and funny to begin with, and Santat’s (The Three Ninja Pigs) polished, klieg-lit spreads bring the energy over the top. “Have you seen Crankenstein?” the narrator starts innocently, as someone under the covers ignores the morning sun. “Oh, you would totally know if you had,” the narrator continues, as the quilt gets yanked away and the boy desperately shields himself against the light. “You would say, ‘Good morning!! How are you?’ Crankenstein would say, ‘Mehhrrrr!’ ” School mornings drive Crankenstein to his knees; icy Halloweens leave him shivering in his robot costume; melting popsicles and long lines drive him wild. Santat’s faux-airbrush style excels in capturing the beating rays of the sun and the eerie blue of the television screen. Not until Crankenstein meets a kindred spirit does his mood improve. Expect many re-read requests from Crankensteins who may (or may not) recognize themselves. Ages 3–6. Author’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Illustrator’s agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Aug.)