Sunday, February 21, 2016

Book Review: Frankencrayon by Michael Hall

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Funny story told in a creative way
Cons: Not all in target audience will understand it all without explanation
The Bottom Line:
Production problems
Turn into delightful book
For parents and kids

This Review of Frankencrayon Has NOT Been Canceled

While I wouldn’t want every book or show to break the fourth wall, I enjoy the occasional story that does just that, which is why I was interested in Frankencrayon when I first heard about it.  While I’m not sure that all kids will fully get this book, their parents will love it.

Before we even get to the first page, we find out that the book has been canceled.  It seems that a cast of crayons was going to tell us the story of Frankenstein, but they’ve had to change their plans because of a giant squiggle that appears on the page.  And their efforts to solve the problem just make things worse.  Can they ever fix things?

Of course, this book is framed as the crayons explaining to us why the squiggle caused the book to be canceled.  But the twist comes at the end as we actually do get to see the problem resolved.  Then comes the added fun with the morals to take from the story.  Oh, don’t worry, the book isn’t preachy.  These morals flow logically from the story and are presented for fun at the end.  We’re talking things like “Adding more squiggles doesn’t make squiggles go away.”  And the last page?  It has the best laugh of the entire book.

Which leads us into my only hesitation with the book.  Kids might not understand a few of the jokes, like the one on the last page, or the self-referential humor throughout the book.  I bet upper pre-school kids would get it with some explanation from their parents, however.  Despite the fact that Frankenstein is referenced, nothing is said that will frighten kids or is at all inappropriate for the age group.  And I bet they will love the jokes made based on the various crayon color names.

The illustrations are fairly simple, but they do a great job of conveying the problem the cast of crayons encounters and how they deal with it.

So I definitely recommend this book, just with the understanding that not all kids might get it right away.  When they do, they and their parents will both appreciate the creative storytelling that happens in Frankencrayon.


  1. This one sounds fun! I like books that have humor for adults though I can see how this one could be above the heads of really little kids. I'll have to look for this one.

    1. It is definitely fun, and a book that kids would enjoy more as they grew even if they didn't get all the jokes the first time around.

  2. Sounds like a book unlike any other. That in itself is appealing!

    1. I definitely don't think I've seen a picture book like this one before.


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