cover image She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein

She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein

Lynn Fulton, illus. by Felicita Sala. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-525-57960-1

Inspired by Mary Shelley’s introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein, this imagining of the classic’s creation acquaints readers to a true story of literary ingenuity. Two hundred years ago, a young Mary, dreaming of becoming a writer, visited the poet Lord Byron on the shore of Lake Geneva with her future husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and other friends. A competition to write the best ghost story, a conversation about electricity being used to reanimate a frog, and a haunting dream spur Shelley’s imagination until she finds her ghost story and sets about writing it. Moody illustrations by Sala, in jewel tones and shades of gray, mimic the atmosphere of Shelley’s best-known novel. A note from debut author Fulton explains included details that are not directly noted in the source material. This is a useful introduction to Shelley and a valuable touchstone for discussions about persistence and the creative process. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)