cover image Frankie Stein

Frankie Stein

Lola M. Schaefer, , illus. by Kevan Atteberry. . Marshall Cavendish, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7614-5358-1

With his creamy skin and blissful smile, Frankie Stein seems a delightful baby. In the Munsters –like premise, however, his evident normalcy worries his parents, a green-skinned Frankenstein's monster and his Bride. “ 'Oh my,' said his mother. 'He's... cute.' ” Frankie soon sprouts “a lock of sun-gold hair” and a clean white tooth. He practices lurching, but “his walk was more of a bounce.” His doting parents tint his hair a lurid violet, apply fake warts to his face and outfit him in clunky black shoes—ever mindful of their rogues' gallery of candlelit family portraits—but to no avail. A transparent, goofy ghost and lavender rat smilingly observe the unsuccessful makeover, accenting the sitcom humor. Schaefer (Loose Tooth ) capably sets up debut illustrator Atteberry's visual punch lines, while Atteberry casts the tale with slightly bland computer-generated caricatures. Given the predictable gags, the roundish yellow typeface appears undersize and weak on the page; otherwise, the book makes the most of its cartoonish comedy without tilting into anything remotely scary. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)