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Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich Edit

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich: And Other Stories You're Sure to Like, because they're all about Monsters, And Some of Them are also about Food is a children's book written and illustrated by Adam Rex. it was published in 2006 by Harcourt Incorporated and is widely available in bookstores, online and also in libraries nationwide. This novel went on to become a New York Times Best Seller. Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich also seems to be well received by most of the public. It is a great book for a Halloween read or to keep in the classroom.

Synopsis Edit

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich is a children's book that makes known the characters of many monsters, starting with that of Frankenstein. In the first story of this book, Frankenstein collects all of the items of food he can get from the neighbors.  They are afraid of him so the only food he gets is the rotten food they throw at him. He stacks up his disgusting lunch and gobbles it down.  The other stories in the book give new perspectives on other well-known monsters including: the creature of the black lagoon, phantom of the opera, witches, a werewolf, the invisible man, Dracula, a mummy, the yeti, the hunchback of Notre Dame, Dr. Jekyll, zombies and Bigfoot.  Throughout these stories, the reader is taken into the story through poetic prose.  The stories give fun, parodied episodes that create puns and play off of everyday incidents such as spinach in your teeth and waiting to swim after eating. Through this book, the reader is given an interesting perspective on Mary Shelley’s original novel Frankenstein. It is more based on imagery of the monster and takes the audience into a new story that works effectively with the illustrations also done by Adam Rex.

Major Themes: Edit

1.     Imagery Edit

This story makes great use of imagery, not just through the illustrations, but through the titles of each individual story and their corresponding prose.  The individual stories follow commonalities that many children would be aware of such as witches on brooms and visiting the dentist office.  By using this very rich, but naïve imagery, Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich becomes a very easy, yet intriguing read to the younger generation.  I also feel that through this more age appropriate imagery, the reader will find themselves understanding more of the prose itself, especially when the son of Dracula visits the dentist and he is afraid of the lady about to clean his teeth. Though incidents like this may be slightly different, the idea and the imagery behind the stories are very relatable to children.  Using such imagery is engaging and interesting for a child who is reading the story or even being read to.  This book allows the younger reader to engage in the idea of Frankenstein and other monsters without it being overwhelming or too scary.  That idea is another reason why imagery in this book is so important and why it gives the adaptation power over the original text by Mary Shelley.  This stripped down version gives enough recognizable imagery for it to be seen and noticed by Frankenstein fans, but also uses other popular monsters and updated stories to interest younger readers in a book such as Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich.

2.     Naivety Edit

This children’s book thrives on the idea of naivety.  For a children’s book to work, it is clear that it will not be exhaustive in language, nor convoluted.  Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich uses this idea to its advantage, while still giving a new approach to the typical children’s book style. This book in particular takes poetry form in a digestible way for the age group from around first to fourth grade, or ages six to nine.  Through a naïve approach, the author allows young children to be exposed to several iconic monsters in this adaptation.  Other adaptations that use naivety include other children’s books such as Frankie Stein Starts School, Do Not Build a Frankenstein, and Frankenstein Takes the Cake.  Some additional adaptations include films such as, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein and Frankenweenie.  By using naivety, children can then learn to relate the information in each adaptation across genres and as they grow up will be more apt to understand and recognize new imagery.  Through naïve language and imagery, the author, Adam Rex works to achieve a balance. He does not use scary images in his illustrations, but still gets his points across with his poetry and connection to the ideas behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  This author does a great job of using the characters that are using adaptation and then taking a new approach and creating new stories to go along with them that are child appropriate.

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich

Rex, Adam. Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich. Harcourt Inc. 2006.

3.     Creature’s Story Edit

Another important theme of Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich is that the reader is getting the creature or monster’s story.  This is a very different aspect than many other adaptations of the Frankenstein story.  Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein and even movies such as the Boris Karloff Frankenstein (1931) do not give the monster a voice.  With the children’s books, the monster is often the main character, most likely to cut out the scary and often gory exposition of creating the monster.  Through this main character position, the author is able to give life to a normal “human-like” monster and that separates it from many other adaptations.  As a more human figure, this works to make the children’s books less scary and also allows a lesson to be taught to the reader. By giving the monster a voice, the story is able to be changed or adapted to its specific age level and audience. Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich uses monster’s stories across several different pieces of poetry.  Adam Rex uses the creature’s voice to show emotion and portray images to the reader that connect with the illustrations he also creates alongside the words.  By using the monster’s voice, Rex takes the audience into a new world, where they can be a part of what makes the story special, as well as place themselves into the monster’s shoes, which is not easily done in other adaptations of the Frankenstein story. 

Significance of Adaptation Edit

This adaptation fits into a special category of its own, the Frankenstein for children category.  Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich gives a new perspective on children’s books because it engages

powerful imagery and many stories are written in a poetic form.  This approach gives this children’s Frankenstein novel a new look and partners with additional stories to break out into other adaptations as well.  This book is a unique take on Mary Shelley’s original novel Frankenstein and allows a younger audience to participate in the imagery and knowledge of the creature/monster. Starting an adaptation such as this one in a younger audience benefits the adaptation community because they will have been exposed much younger and in turn will likely engage in additional adaptations across genres as they grow up.  Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich is its use of the monster’s voice.  This feature could influence newer adaptations to follow and create more “human-like” monsters.  Another adaptation that uses a “human-like” approach is the newer Baby Lit Primer called An Anatomy Primer Frankenstein.  This adaptation was released in 2014 and it seems likely that more children’s Frankenstein books will follow this humanizing trend in the monster.  Though this text falls into the category of Frankenstein adaptations for the obvious reason of imagery, the story given is entirely different than any other adaptation out there.  It does not look at any type of creation, but rather uses only one aspect of the typical Frankenstein story and that is betrayal.  This poetic blurb of Frankenstein makes a definite use of being an outsider and betrayal by others.  In Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, Adam Rex includes that his neighbors were afraid of him and often chased him: “A monster! Eek! The people shrieked. Oh, make him go away! The angry hordes unsheathe their swords, pulled pitchforks out of the hay” (Rex, 5). This excerpt from the book is just an example of the single way Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich is linked to the original Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.  This adaptation is the ideal mix for a parent and child.  It is a fun and entertaining read that gives the imagery of monsters, but pairs them with new stories.  This children’s book mixes the genre of what many would call horror and lightens it with humor to make it age appropriate.  This is one of the most important aspects of this adaptation.  The fact that it achieves a balance to this degree is notably why this book has been so popular.  As a teacher or parent, you would feel good about reading this to your students or children.  Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich has paved a new way for the children’s book about Frankenstein.  Adam Rex has shown that the story does not have to be the same as every other Frankenstein adaptation, but rather all it takes is the use of imagery and creativity to create a successful and intricate children’s tale. 

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