Thursday, March 15, 2007

Advertising Works!

I saw an advertisment somewhere for Frankenstein Makes A Sandwich by Adam Rex, which led me to pick up the book when I saw it at my local library.

This well-reviewed volume seems to me to be what I think of as a picture book for adults. It is beautifully illustrated but it's a book of poems about classic movie monsters--Frankenstein, The Phantom of the Opera, The Creature From the Black Lagoon, etc. I don't know if young children are familiar with these figures. You can definitely make the argument that they could become familiar with them after reading this book, of course. But the poems that accompany the illustrations are often...long. And even when they're clever, as in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Henderson , they're rather mature. Dr. Jekyll turns into Mr. Henderson, a bore at parties. Will kids find that funny? How old do you have to be before you're aware of bores?

Some of the references also seem geared to adults. A recurring poem is all about The Phantom of the Opera who can't compose new music because he has other tunes stuck in his head. A couple of them are common children's songs. But one is The Girl From Ipanema. I did find that funnier on the second reading. But I'm not five years old. Does that forty-year-old song appear on a lot of kiddie music CDs?

The book isn't bad by any means. I just wonder if kids will get it.


MotherReader said...

I wouldn't say that the book is for young kids, because you're right, they won't get it. I think older kids might not get all the jokes, but that they'll love it because it's poetry - but it's monsters! The deep dark secret about middle grade kids is that they still love pictures in their stories, but we start giving them chapter books and they never go back. Frankenstein Make a Sandwich is a way for them to enjoy the art - and it is art - and show them that poetry can be fun.

Gail Gauthier said...

One thing that I found interesting about this book is that it has quite a lot of text and it rhymes--two things that I've heard over the years that publishers aren't looking for in picture books. But here they are in an attractive book that is well received.

Anonymous said...

My 4.5 year old daughter was drawn to this book in the public library. I read it to her several times and we ended up buying a copy online.

No, kids will not analyze it like we adults do and pick out all of the reference. However, kids don't seem to need to do that to enjoy something like adults do. My daughter loved the pictures and the halloweeny feel. While she didn't know all of the references for the Phantom sequence she enjoyed the tunes and the general silliness. As she grows older she'll get more of what's going on and she'll appreciate it more and more. How wonderful to have a book like that you can grow up with rather than outgrow!