STARRED REVIEW
January 26, 2016

The show must go on

By Michael Hall
Review by

It would appear that this tale ends before it begins: Big “canceled” stamps smatter the title page and book flaps of Frankencrayon. But not to worry—the dapperly dressed, bonnet-and-top-hat-clad crayons are eager to relay their tragic tale. The pencil helps narrate how their would-be monster story was waylaid by a scribble—a scribble that grows when the crayons attempt to fix it.

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It would appear that this tale ends before it begins: Big “canceled” stamps smatter the title page and book flaps of Frankencrayon. But not to worry—the dapperly dressed, bonnet-and-top-hat-clad crayons are eager to relay their tragic tale. The pencil helps narrate how their would-be monster story was waylaid by a scribble—a scribble that grows when the crayons attempt to fix it. The lights are off, the actors have gone home . . . but did anybody remember to call off Frankencrayon?

Intriguing from the start, Frankencrayon is more than just a monster story. It’s perfect for all ages, and is suspenseful and dramatic without actually being scary. Michael Hall, author and illustrator of multiple children’s books (My Heart Is Like a Zoo, Red), lets his inventive crayon characters stand out with bright, energetic colors against a solid-colored background. Adorned in their historical acting attire, the crayons fill each page with their melodramatic but well-mannered personalities.

Hall’s talent elevates Frankencrayon above simple entertainment, beginning with a nod to classic literature and slowly delivering a story within a story, with unexpected turns that will guarantee a laugh. He embellishes the crayons’ quirky, precise dialogue with alliteration, word plays and onomatopoeias, and even slips in a few life instructions.

Bookstore shelves are packed with great stories, but this delightfully creative book, populated by its charming “scary guys,” deserves multiple readings. Thanks to the innovative Hall, there are still a few twists out there to be discovered.

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Frankencrayon

Frankencrayon

By Michael Hall
Greenwillow
ISBN 9780062252111

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