Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich

Laura Beth Menser, thanks for this reflection.

Rex, A.  (2006).  Frankenstein makes a sandwich.  Orlando:  Harcourt, Inc.

         Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, by Adam Rex, is a children’s poetry book that contains a “menu” full of hilarious monster poems.  The New York Times named the book a bestseller.  It includes famous movie monsters such as:  Frankenstein, Dracula, The Invisible Man, The Headless Horseman, The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Godzilla.  In addition, the poems also include other well-known fictitious people and creatures such as:  The Phantom from “Phantom of the Opera”, Yeti, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Bigfoot.  Many people would agree that these monsters are scary creatures.  These poems show these monsters in a different light—they are scared of things, too!  In “The Dentist”, Frankenjunior (Frankenstein’s son) tells Dracula’s son that the worst monster of all is the dentist.  With the talk of a silver filling, Dracula’s son changes to a bat and flies out of the dentist’s office and says, “My dad may be bad, but the dentist’s THE WORST.” (pg. 36).  The Phantom of the Opera appears five times in the book, each time going more and more crazy.  He can’t get certain songs out of his head; songs like “It’s a Small World”, “Pop Goes the Weasel”, “The Girl from Ipanema”, and “Bingo.”  You can’t help but laugh as he continues to “lose it” with each poem!

         Adam Rex uses lyric poetry throughout Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich to descriptively capture the monsters’ feelings in each scene.  In the poem “The Invisible Man Gets a Haircut”, we can sense The Invisible Man’s fear in this verse, “Said Griffin, “Oh my!  That’s your thumb in my eye!  And my nostril’s no place for a comb.  Oh dear!  Where’s my ear?  Well I know it was here on my head when I checked it at home!” (pg. 15).  In this specialized poetry book about monsters, the poems are told in rhyme with a distinct beat.  An example of this is found in the poem “Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich”:  “What could he do?  He thought it through until his brain was sore, And he thought he ought to see what he could borrow from next door.” (pg. 5).  Rex uses rhyme in each of the poems, which make the poems enjoyable and easy to read.  Some examples of the rhyming words he used are:  “wrong, song” (pg. 9), “sounds, pounds” (pg. 19), “meant, scent” (pg. 20), “hide, side” (pg. 34), and “away, day” (pg. 39).  

         Adam Rex was also the illustrator of the book.  He used a variety of artistic media to bring his illustrations to life, which include: gouache, brush and ink, scratchboard, modeling clay, and digital art.  He changed the colors in the poems to change the readers’ mood in the poems.  For example, he used black and white for the “Zombie Zombie” poem (pg. 28-31) to evoke a dark, scary feeling while he used a meadow of sunflowers for the “Bigfoot Can’t Believe You Called Him Yeti Just Now” poem (pg. 38) to convey a friendly and less intimidating feeling towards Bigfoot.

         I found this book listed under the recommended poetry books section in our textbook, Essentials of Children’s Literature.  The title sounded interesting to me, so I wrote it down to look up at my local public library.  I’m glad I chose this book of poems!  I laughed out loud as I read through each clever, witty poem.  I would definitely recommend this book to other teachers to use with their students and also for adults too, who enjoy these classic monsters.

         Some BIG questions you could ask your students are, “Which monster’s fear surprised you the most?  Why?  What advice could you give the monsters to help them overcome their fear?  What is your biggest fear?  How can you overcome it?”

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