Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Non-Fiction Picture Book Wed. - October for Monsters

art by Sarah S. Brannen

      Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From her post and others, you will discover and want to celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 


         It's the bicentennial of Frankenstein and nearing Halloween, so it's a great time to share this story of Mary Shelley on the night she created a most frightening monster.

            Telling of a young woman who sits in a dark house and dreams of her life as a writer shows this one night when the idea of Mary's monster begins. She wants to be a writer like her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, who passed away when Mary was very young, but the ideas just did not appear.

The poet Lord Byron and her good friend, soon to be husband, Percy Shelley, among others, were visiting and Byron set forth a challenge to them to write a ghost story. Mary wanted to write, wanted an idea, and with only one day left, still nothing. Frustrated and anxious, she went to bed. As she drifted off to sleep, she dreamed of a man that was not a man. He was a monster.

Everyone knows Frankenstein, but few know the beginnings of this story, one where Mary created this man, one not as scary as others show, but lonely and ostracized. It can be an entry to the reading of the book for older middle and high schoolers.

Felicita Sala illustrates the book in dark and dreamy gray tones, surely the atmosphere of that evening when the group spoke of vampires and ghosts, their stories already written, and the night Mary had a dream. There is an author's note where Lynn Fulton explains the changes she made that are not supported in the sources. 


  1. Sala was such a great illustrator choice for this book. It was really interesting to read the origins of this story!

    1. I didn't know the name, Sala, but when I looked for her, I realized I'd loved other books by her! I enjoyed this story "behind the story"!

  2. ...and a perfect book for October!


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