The inspirational story of Mary Shelley and her monster Frankenstein is expertly told and brought vividly to life in this appropriately scary picture book biography. It is the perfect primer before children pick up a copy of Shelly’s monstrously good book.
Mary loved stories and she loved to dream. Best of all were the stories that she saw in her daydreams. Late one evening whilst a storm raged outside, Mary and four others huddled around a fire. It was the perfect night for ghost stories. It took a while for Mary to think up the perfect story but when the idea finally formed she gave life to one of the scariest fictional monsters of all time…
Mary and Frankenstein tells the wonderful story of how a little girl with a head full of stories and dreams would go on to create what is widely recognised as the original modern science-fiction story. It is a brief yet fascinating biography that touches on Mary’s difficult start to life without her birth mother, a troubled childhood where she was viewed as a ‘Big Problem’, and her travels. It was on one of these travels that she would find herself sat round a fire and being challenged to write a ghost story. Months later, Frankenstein had been written. At the tender age of eighteen, Mary Shelley had created a legendary work of literary fiction.
I knew nothing of the Mary Shelley’s life before reading this book and I feel considerably richer for knowing just a little about her rather sad life and the experiences that led to the creation of her famous book. Despite various troubles, it is clear that Mary had a passion for stories and language. Sneakily hiding behind the sofa to listen to a famous writer, fleeing from home with a poet, sitting around a fire with Lord Byron and John Polidori, Mary took every opportunity to be around the wordsmiths of her time.
A picture book biography this may be but do not be fooled into thinking that it will not leave the hairs standing on the back of the neck and send shivers down the spine. The combination of Linda Bailey’s simple and evocative prose and Júlia Sardà’s atmospheric, haunting and eerie illustrations are perfect for the story of the author who created the ultimate horror read. As an added bonus, a detailed author’s note gives a wonderful overview of Mary’s life.
An absorbing and atmospheric read that gives a wonderful overview of the life of a little girl with a ‘monstrously’ big imagination. Whether children want to write, draw or bring monstrous creations to life, Shelley’s story should serve to inspire. After all, everything begins with a dream.
Recommended for 7+.