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Saturday, February 14, 2015

A CRANKENSTEIN VALENTINE, written by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Dan Santat. Little, Brown and Company, Hachette. 2015. $19.00 ages 3 and up

"You would say,
Happy Valentine's
Day, My Love!

Crankenstein would say,

You would say,
Look who got brand-new

Before Crankenstein spoils your day, or makes you laugh just a little too hard, let me wish you a very happy day full of family love and laughter. HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY everyone!!!

You can't get past the front endpapers filled with candy hearts without knowing just exactly how Crankenstein feels about the day: SOUR PUSS, WHATEVER, NOT GOOD, SNARL, P.U., BUH-BYE! Little ones will want you to read them again and again. Crankenstein's attitude about life remains unchanged since we were first introduced to this champion of grump (Crankenstein, Little, Brown, 2013). Imagine how the sweetness and overpowering love of a day such as today only ramps it up! YECHHHH! is evidently his very favorite word as he awakens to a world awash in red, and an expectation for taking a teacher gift, accepting a smooch on the bus, and eating a lunch that reeks of hearts and love!

When time comes to create a valentine for someone else, Crankenstein complies:

"Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Valentine's Day stinks.
Seriously. P. U. "

No matter where he turns he is offended. Well, there might be one exception.  Lucky Crankenstein!

Appropriately, the hearts on the back endpapers match Crankenstein's feelings when the day is done:

This is the second collaboration between Samantha Berger and Caldecott winner Dan Santat.  Ms. Berger gives readers license to use drama and a raised voice to bring Crankenstein to life on this most repugnant day of his year. Dan Santat weaves humorous details onto every page. Crankenstein's expressions are endlessly fascinating. His monstrous demeanor, and his companion character will have kids howling. Irreverent, yes! Solidly entertaining, oh, my yes!!!

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