Mary, Who Wrote Frankenstein
Mary, Who Wrote Frankenstein

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Annotation: This inspiring biography tells of the early life of Mary Shelley, whose vivid imagination was nurtured by the books and stories that were her only escape from an oppressive childhood.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #171181
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Tundra Books
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Sarda, Julia,
Pages: 56
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-7704-9559-2 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-3150-2
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-7704-9559-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-3150-8
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2017951209
Dimensions: 29 cm.
Subject Heading:
Language: English
Horn Book
This volume relates the seminal evening when author Shelley supposedly conceived the first modern science fiction novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, weaving in formative events that possibly helped inspire her masterpiece. Bailey's text is framed by her subject's penchant for dreaming, and serves as a solid introduction to Shelley. Sard`'s decorative watercolor and digital illustrations in a macabre style feature sharp-edged, ghostly-looking characters. Bib.
Kirkus Reviews
One of a cluster of books celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein.This picture book focuses on Mary's solitary childhood, in which she wanders alone through city streets, cultivating her daydreams, or "castles in the air," which provided the initial inspiration for her novels. She is influenced by the writings of her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, whose grave she visits, and by her intellectual but severe father. She is introduced to the intelligentsia of London and hears Coleridge reciting The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a poem she will never forget. Stifled at home, Mary elopes with the poet Shelley; her stepsister Claire goes along. Their travels in Europe take them past Castle Frankenstein, the inspiration for Mary's famous novel. One wild and stormy night, the three friends meet with the poet Byron and his writer friend John Polidori at Byron's villa beside Lake Geneva. Byron makes his famous proposal that each should write a ghost story. This challenge and Mary's introduction to science, particularly galvanism, are the inspirations for Mary's famous monster. Bailey's text features clipped, short sentences and presents carefully chosen details children will understand. Sardà's watercolor-and-digital illustrations are dark and stormy and perfectly suited to the mood of the story. The many decorative details, reminiscent of 18th-century gravestone designs, will fascinate children, and the gaunt, Gorey-like, grave-pallid figures will send chills down the spine.An exciting tale in its own right, this biography should prime readers for the original. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)
Publishers Weekly
This biographical depiction of Mary Shelley's young life explores how writers create, synthesizing ideas from experiences and imagination. Throughout, Bailey emphasizes her strong spirit and penchant for daydreams as she traces how formative circumstances helped move Shelley to write: the early loss of her mother, a great thinker and advocate for women's equality; meeting frequent visitors to her childhood home, including philosophers, artists, and scientists; living with a family of strangers in Scotland; running away with her stepsister, Claire, and poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, her eventual husband; and visiting Switzerland with Claire, Shelley, the poet Lord Byron, and doctor and writer John Polidori. Sard's distinctive angular illustrations are rife with thoughtful period detail and patterns in rich tones, evoking an appropriately maudlin mood while showcasing how Shelley's life was a catalyst to art and creativity--and, perhaps, the birth of science fiction. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Though youngsters won't yet have delved into Mary Shelley's gothic horror classic, most will have been exposed to her piecemeal monster. Riffs such as Adam Rex's Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich (2006), Patrick McDonnell's The Monsters' Monster (2012), and Michael Hall's Frankencrayon (2016) are just a few of the picture books starring Shelley's creation; and let's not forget Jim Benton's Franny K. Stein series or Tim Burton's Frankenweenie film. Viewed in this eerie light, a picture-book biography on Shelley herself doesn't seem out of place, especially one so stunning as this. Bailey relates Shelley's childhood, rebellious adolescence, and participation in the now-famous writing competition that spawned the mad Dr. Frankenstein and his monster as a fantastic story in its own right. Her writing is warm and inclusive, posing occasional questions directly to the reader and establishing Shelley as a spirited dreamer. No less astonishing are Sardà's folk art style illustrations, which employ deep, moody hues rgundy, plum, black, gray, and midnight blue create hauntingly detailed scenes. Ghostly monsters waft through people's imaginations; dense trees lean and reach their branches toward Shelley's passing carriage; a dead frog sits upright when zapped with electricity. Readers will revel in this artful portrait of a celebrated young author and better appreciate the true brains behind the operation. A thorough afterword offers more details of Shelley's life.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: 1-4

The inspiring story of the girl behind one of the greatest novels -- and monsters -- ever, perfectly timed for the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein. For fans for picture book biographies such as I Dissent or She Persisted.

How does a story begin? Sometimes it begins with a dream, and a dreamer. Mary is one such dreamer, a little girl who learns to read by tracing the letters on the tombstone of her famous feminist mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, and whose only escape from her strict father and overbearing stepmother is through the stories she reads and imagines. Unhappy at home, she seeks independence, and at the age of sixteen runs away with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, another dreamer. Two years later, they travel to Switzerland where they meet a famous poet, Lord Byron. On a stormy summer evening, with five young people gathered around a fire, Byron suggests a contest to see who can create the best ghost story. Mary has a waking dream about a monster come to life. A year and a half later, Mary Shelley's terrifying tale, Frankenstein: or, the Modern Prometheus, is published -- a novel that goes on to become the most enduring monster story ever and one of the most popular legends of all time.

A riveting and atmospheric picture book about the young woman who wrote one of the greatest horror novels ever written and one of the first works of science fiction, Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein is an exploration of the process of artistic inspiration that will galvanize readers and writers of all ages.

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