REVIEWS+

Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein.

illus. by Júlia Sardà. Tundra. Aug. 2018. 56p. bibliog. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781770495593.
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Gr 2-5–An exploration of the creative process and a biographical picture book all in one. The text introduces Mary Shelley as a young girl and details her youth leading up to her marriage to Percy Bysshe Shelley. Details of their union, Percy's first wife, deaths of their children, and so on are not included, although interested adults will find a lengthy list of sources for more information. Keeping the book's child audience in mind, the author concentrates on the relevant parts of Shelley's life that led to the writing of Frankenstein. The illustrations—rendered digitally and in watercolor—employ dark tones and dramatic shifting perspectives, giving the work a movielike feel. The main characters are presented as a group in the first picture, labeled by name, to help young readers keep everyone sorted. Shelley's monster creation appears frequently, looming over or under the scene, but not in a frightening manner: Shelley is the one in control. ­
VERDICT This unusual picture book would be a great choice for Halloween reading, presenting a thoughtful exploration of a writer's motivation and process.
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