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Monday, November 4, 2013

Crankenstein, written by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Dan Santat. Little, Brown and Company, Hachette. 2013. $18.50 ages 3 and up

"You might see Crankenstein
when it's super rainy outside...

Or when it's extra cold on

Or when it's WAY too hot
for popsicles.


If you think about it for thirty seconds, you will realize that you have met Crankenstein at some point in your life; or, you may even have been him at one time or another! Haven't we all?

Yes, we do fear the cranky monster that sometimes lives within our children, our students, our friends, and that has even taken root in our own bodies on grumpy days. When it happens, it seems that nothing will make a difference to the way we feel!

On those days, everything irks! The alarm clock, the water temperature in the shower, the need to make lunches, the traffic, the getting everyone out of the house on time. You name it, it is of concern to the joy we take in  most days. What can stop the downward spiral?

For the Crankenstein that we meet in Samantha Berger's funny new book, it comes in the form of a kindred spirit. Meeting another Crankenstein is just what the doctor ordered. In no time, grumpiness is replaced with laughter. But, don't get complacent. As you well know, if you are a person living on this planet, Crankenstein can rear his ugly head at any moment, and return to make life miserable once more.

This tale is such fun, and a wonderful read aloud! I think that anyone who reads or shares it will feel a little contrite when they consider their own moments of crankiness. You know you will!

Dan Santat comes through again, creating an absolutely perfect character; but, he explains it was hard work:

"Every morning during the entire production of this book, Dan Santat would make himself good and cranky by depriving himself of coffee. Having just the right amount of crankiness was imperative to this project. He illustrated the book using Adobe Photoshop, even though his computer crashed all the time. Dan then decided to hand-letter every single word, not realizing there were a lot of words in this book.
Crankenstein is the embodiment of Dan Santat's pure rage.
...And he did it all for you."

 Witty, full of fun and a bit of a reminder to all of us to take hold of the cranky monster that is inside
and keep cool.

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