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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Frankencrayon, written and illustrated by Michael Hall. Greenwillow Books, Harper. 2016. $21.99 ages 5 and up

"The story began with
the frightened townspeople
talking about a horrible
monster lurking in their

Suddenly, without
warning, the lights went


"Official Notice
This picture book has been
canceled. Please close the book
and find something else to read."

I've never heard of such a thing! A book has been cancelled? It is what happens here, and the crayons are downhearted. Each is entirely prepared for the story they want to tell. Their costumes are set and they can't wait to get going. Now, it has ended before it could begin ... and there is only one reason why!

It's due to a big red scribble that suddenly appears, tearing across two pages in a big loopy line! When they try cleaning it up, it just makes it worse. It gets even bigger! The storytelling crayons are disgusted with the state of affairs. Four crayons try their hand at ridding the book of the dreadful mark. Nothing works!

Frankencrayon has been sent ahead to page 22. In the midst of the chaos created by the scribble, he is not told what is happening. The crayons who are costumed to be Frankencrayon run straight into the scribble. It takes a lot of ingenuity and some quick action to take control of their problem. Only then do we learn who is willing to take responsibility for such reprehensible behavior!

This is a terrific book to add to my full Michael Hall collection. He has such a joyful way of presenting his stories, always with a bit of a surprise for his readers. I love the costumed crayons, their spoken asides, and the opportunity for a most successful and amusing story time. There are so many voices to share: plaintive, annoyed, even angry. Get some practice in before you sit to read it aloud. The collage art is bright and attention-grabbing. Even the pencil that narrates the tale is a singular voice in the midst of the drama and the fun.

This is one of those books that would make for a smashing classroom performance, or a full of fun readers' theatre. Enjoy!

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