Friday, 14 December 2012

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Frank N Stan by M.P. Robertson (Francis Lincoln Children's Books)

For someone brought up loving gothic horror novels, and the classic MGM monster movies, I've always had a soft spot for the story of Frankenstein. Mary Shelley's peerless novel is riffed on so beautifully here in a children's picture book with a difference.

Young Frank Shelley (love it!) is an only child, and often gets lonely. Despite begging his mum and dad for a baby sib to play with (and probably boss around, it's an older sibling's prerogative, right?) they merely answer "one day, perhaps".

Frank can't wait though, so he sits down at his drawing board to design the ultimate big brother, Stan.

Scrounging bits from a scrapyard, butchering household appliances, and creating the perfect power source, young Frank soon creates a behemoth of a brother - a robotic masterpiece who will play with him, talk to him, and clankily cuddle him.

Stan is gigantic - and we loved M.P. Robertson's brilliant steampunky scrap-metal robot design.

For a while things are brilliant but then something happens that changes both Frank and Stan's lives forever.

We're going to be dreadfully mean, of course, and not tell you what happens - because we really want you to read this utterly brilliant book. There are so many juicy little references to Frankenstein, and even to Ted Hughes' superb "The Iron Man" in here. You'll be bowled over by the artwork for sure, but you'll also love the rather touching tale of family and brotherly love.

Kids will love the inventiveness of Frank. What a cool kid!

Charlotte's best bit: Frank and Stan's brilliant rocket kart

Daddy's favourite bit: M.P. Robertson has expertly borrowed from the Frankenstein legend and produced a clanking, piston-powered, steampunky classic. If you love Frankenstein or Robots, you really need this book on your shelf.