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Rick Walton and Nathan Hale, Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody (2012)

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Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody Edit

Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody is a children’s book that parodies another children’s book, Madeline by Ludwig Bemelman.  This Frankenstein book was written by Rick Walton and illustrated by Nathan Hale and they operate for this novel under the pen name Ludworst Bemonster.  Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody was published by Feiwel and Friends in 2012.  It received A CaldeNOT horror stamp, which is also meant to be yet another parody of the Caldecott Book Award.  This book is available online and in text.  This is a popular children’s book and is used in multiple genres because of the aspect of parody.

Synopsis Edit

Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody is a children’s book that parodies the famous children’s story Madeline.  The book is meant to be funny and most likely used in conjunction with the Madeline text, though it is also a great stand-alone book as well.  Frankenstein in this story is the same character placement as Madeline and he tortures Miss Devel.  He is usally a trouble maker just like Madeline, but one night it is very silent and Miss Devel knows that something is not right and she finds that Frankenstein has lost his head.  This is the parallel to Madeline’s appendicitis that occurs one night at the girls’ home.  The story continues to follow the plot-line of Madeline, but switches up the characters and exchanges some details of her story to develop a slightly different plot for the Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody.  Frankenstein is the main character and is the scariest monster in the story.  He is always the one to first cause a problem.  When Frankenstein loses his head, he is sent to the laboratory and he is given a new head.  As he returns to the home for monsters, all the other little monsters are jealous of his screws keeping his head on.  The other little monsters lose their heads and Miss Devel leaves them be because they can no longer whine and yell and bother her.

Major Themes: Edit

1.     Parody Edit

A main theme of this children’s book is Parody.  Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody is a parallel to the story of Madeline.  By using this book as a textual parody, it is easily connected to other genres of children’s stories.  Through this aspect, it is important to note that this creates an easily translatable text and gives the reader a comparison.  Parodies are often funny and this book definitely follows that trope.  This book reads as comical and charming when compared to Madeline, but even if the reader does not know about Madeline, the story is easily followed to create its own rich textual environment.  As a parody, Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody gives the audience enough new material to keep it interesting, but also uses adjusted details to allow recognition of the Madeline text it parodies.  Often, parodies come in the form of television and movie adaptations, so this children’s book is a different approach to a Frankenstein parody that usual.  Of the few book parodies about Frankenstein, this is one of the only children’s adaptations on the market.

2.     Imagery Edit

Another theme very prominent in this book is the imagery it gives the reader.  The illustrations in this book are detailed and welcoming to the eye of young children.  They show very prominent and recognizable images, such as that of Frankenstein, bride of Frankenstein, Dracula, etc.  This helps promote this story as an adaptation in the children’s book category.  Through the illustrations, the monsters are much friendlier and happy, but are still recognizable as the iconic monsters so many people know.  Using this type of imagery is beneficial because it releases a connected image to our society and locks people in on the story even if they do not know what it is about.  Using iconic imagery in Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody, the audience is drawn to the book and then across genres into other books and novels that deal with the same imagery.  This is one of the most important aspects of adaptation and is key when moving into different genres, such as children’s adaptation.  Exposing young children to this imagery only increases its didactic value and promotes an increase in additional adaptations over time. 

3.     Language Edit

The most recognizable theme in Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody might be its simplistic language.  As a children’s text, it is very important that the language is attainable for the age group.  This book was written for an age range of four to eight years, though any child that loves the story of Madeline would surely enjoy this story.  Writing for this range requires minimal word usage while still getting the novels plot-line across.  This book does a wonderful job of this and makes the reader feel engaged, but not overwhelmed by the language.  Other Frankenstein adaptations that are focused on language include, Baby Lit’s Frankenstein Anatomy Primer, Do Not Build a Frankenstein and Even Monster’s Need Haircuts.  These additional adaptations are made for a similar or even younger audience and focus directly on the difficulty of language and the how the illustrations work with the words to achieve a learning process while engaging in the text. Across many children’s adaptations of Frankenstein, this might possibly be the most important theme.  Simplistic language is important when a child is learning to read and especially when keeping a child’s attention during a story.  Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody follows the Madeline story, with key information, but does so in a fun and easy-read.

Significance of Adaptation Edit

Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody is a significant adaptation of Mary Shelley’s original novel Frankenstein, because it brings life to the iconic imagery connected with her novel to a younger audience.  This children’s book uses the powerful illustrations to make a fun and friendly set of monsters for children to engage with.  For children, it is necessary to tone down the horror typically associated with Frankenstein and this text does a great job at providing its reader with an understanding of its association with the original text, but also making its own path in the adaptation world.  Some unique aspects of Frankenstein Monstrous Parody include its parody to the famous novel Madeline written by Ludwig Bemelman in 1939 and its intricate illustrations.  Being a parody to the well-know and highly noted story Madeline, already puts this children’s adaptation a step above the rest.  This parody aspect gives Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody a high cultural capital and a visibility in the world of children’s books.  It is an interesting and new approach to Frankenstein children’s book adaptations and it is one of the only parodies available in a similar context.  Using such a well-known book as its parody allows Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody to rest in between many genres in the children’s book category and this also contributes to its visibility.  The other unique aspect of this children’s book is its intricate illustrations.  Since imagery is so important in the children’s adaptation of Frankenstein, detailed illustrations really set this book a part from many other books.  The illustrations portray the monsters in a friendly and approachable way for children, but also introduce them to that iconic Frankenstein image.  One particular part of the book that really increased its resemblance to other adaptations of this kind and even to several adult film adaptations, was the screws placed in Frankenstein’s neck to keep his new head on.  The small monster’s head had been lost or eaten and he was taken to the laboratory in a coffin.  This imagery was very potent and alluded that he was practically dead when he left the home for monsters.  After arriving to the laboratory, sometime later he woke with a new head.  While in the hospital recovering, Miss Devel took the other monsters of the home to visit Frankenstein and when they came in they were very intrigued by the “two huge new screws!” in his neck (Bemonster).  This iconic imagery seems very important and gave this adaptation a very different perspective than many other Frankenstein children’s texts. Using imagery such as this opens up the world of adaptation at an early age and also increases its capital in the way that adults and parents would view this book.  Imagery supports not only the reader, but the provider as well and because of Frankenstein’s cultural capital, close imagery, such as the screws in Frankenstein’s neck gives a more recognizable image across age groups.   Overall, Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody is significant because it has created something new in the world of children’s Frankenstein adaptations.  It has achieved a blending of a traditional, acknowledged story such as Madeline and an iconic image that resonates with many people today. Through this blending, Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody has then triggered a new opportunity to take this eminent image and give it life through a previously written story of a different genre.  Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody has provided a well-received result from the public and it seems as if other stories of this

Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody

Walton, Rick and Hale, Nathan. Frankenstein a Monstrous Parody. New York, Feiwel and Friends. 2012

type will follow in the near future. 

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