I grew up reading Ludwig Bemelmans's Madeline. My copy, while not a first edition, is almost 50 years old. My daughter grew up with Madeline and even had a cloth Madeline doll with a scar stitched on her stomach. I say this to let you know that I have a complete appreciation and reverence for Bemelmans's classic picture book, especially because Madeline represents one of the first tough chicks of children's literature as well as simply being one of the few girl characters to star in her own picture book at the time and for decades after. That said, I think that Frankenstein by Ludwig Bemonster has to be one of the best, most hilarious, most readable parodies of a classic picture book that I have ever read. While parodies of picture books seem to be the province of adult humor books these days, what I love most about Frankenstein by Ludwig Bemonster, beside the fact that it matches the original line for line and illustration for illustration, is that it is completely, entirely, enjoyably readable on its own, whether you know the original or not. And, after a couple weeks of repeated readings of Madeline and Frankenstein by Ludwig Bemonster side by side at story time, I have learned that many children, boys especially and understandably, have not heard the original. But, like I said, no big deal. However, if you do know the original, you will appreciate this clever copy set in a creepy, monster-filled world, cooked up by Nathan Hale and Rick Walton even more. These two have created an eeirie mirror image of Bemelmans's original, reflecting the rhyme scheme, pace and even color palette and illustration style, perfectly. Sadly, I do not have the book in front of me and only have the book trailer to give you a small taste of just how fantastic Frankenstein by Ludwig Bemonster is, but I can tell you that, just like the original, you have to pronounce some words a certain way in order to match the rhyme scheme. In Madeline, it flows better if you make "again" rhyme with "rain," and in Frankenstein by Ludwig Bemonster, you have the great delight of pronouncing "laboratory" like Vincent Prince (la-BOHR-a-tory) for rhyming purposes.
A couple of months ahead of Halloween, Frankenstein by Ludwig Bemonster has time to gain momentum and popularity and become the classroom and bedtime staple that I'm sure it will become. A book this fun, this well written and illustrated and, this spooky, is sure to be a classic on its own terms!
Among many, many others, Rick Walton is the author of the Bunnies Books, illustrated by Paige Miglio, the first of which, So Many Bunnies, was very popular with my youngest.
Nathan Hale is the author and illustrator of the fantastic new series of historical graphic novels, Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales, as well as the brilliant graphic novels by Shannon Hale (Newbery Honor winner Princess Academy) and her husband Dean Hale (no relation to Nathan) Rapunzel's Revenge and the sequel, Calamity Jack.
Finally, for another really great parody of a classic kid's picture book - also from the author of an excellent graphic novel series that my son and I adore - Fangbone! - don't miss Michael Rex's Goodnight Goon and Runaway Mummy, both of which are very funny and filled with creepy, funny bits.