Review: Crankenstein by Samantha Berger


Crankenstein by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Dan Santat

You should be very very scared of Crankenstein.  He appears when provoked, on rainy days, at bedtime, or when popsicles melt on hot days.  Nothing can fix Crankenstein, not a sunny morning, pancakes for breakfast or any amount of niceness.  But there is one thing that can fix a Crankenstein – another Crankenstein.  Sometimes that and only that can get the Crankensteins to both start giggling and then they both disappear and become normal kids again.  But beware, Crankenstein still lurks, hidden, and ready to appear at any moment.

Written in a firmly tongue-in-cheek tone, readers will quickly recognize their own Crankenstein moments in this book.  Berger keeps the details minimal and the situations universal in this book, adding to the humor.  Santat’s illustrations really bring the story to life.  Crankenstein is given the perfect death glare, those deadened eyes staring right at you.  Santat doesn’t hold back here, gleefully creating an over-the-top characterization of pure grumpiness.

This book reads aloud wonderfully and offers a gleeful glimpse at the grumps.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Rain! by Linda Ashman


Rain! by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Christian Robinson

The perfect book to lift your spirits on a soggy spring day!  When an older man wakes up and sees the rain, he is not happy.  But when a little boy looks out at the same rain, he’s delighted.  The older man grumbles through his preparations to go outside, while the little boy puts on his green boots, green coat and frog hat still happy with the gloomy weather.  The old man grumbles about puddles, while you can see the joy of the child.  They end up in the same café, the old man still grumpy with his day and the young boy happy with cocoa and cookies.  When the two bump into each other, it seems like the grumpiness rubs off on the little boy.  But then he notices that the older man left his hat behind, and with a little joke and a shared cookie, a day is brightened.

Ashman has written this book very simply, just in snatches of dialogue.  Despite the simplicity, the mood of each character is clear in their words.  It is made even more clear by the cut-paper illustrations that display each person’s mood with just a few lines.  Readers will notice that the pages with the older man have others with grumpy faces while the pages with the the child have others with smiles. 

A book that is sure to have readers jumping merrily in puddles and dancing in the rain, this is an inspiration to look on the bright side of things and share your happiness.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.