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Frank Monster Who Wanted to Dance
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About the Author

Keith Graves is the pen name of an alien disguised as a large parakeet. He was last spotted in Texas with his lovely three-eyed wife and twin Martians. This is his second book for earthlings.

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K-Gr 2-This is the story of a Frankenstein-type monster whose only desire is to dance. The garish creature, whose eyes bulge alarmingly, is shown in the first spread watching Soul Train. With dreams of the spotlight, he crashes the theater, where the audience has gathered to see the Royal Ballet. Instead, they see the leering Frank in a vaudeville sort of dance, complete with top hat and cane. The audience raves until the creature begins to come undone: his head unzips and his brain tumbles out. The act ends with the monster losing an eye, an arm, and his head as the crowd stampedes for the door. Readers may be startled by the dance's ending-should they feel sorry for Frank or run screaming like the audience? The verse is stilted at times and children probably won't get the joke when Frank is said to have "danced like his shoe size, instead of his age." The text jitters around the page just like a dancer. Words are emphasized with a variety of fonts, colors, shapes, and sizes. Some letters turn into eyeballs and worms to tie into the plot. The acrylic illustrations are slightly gross-Frank's brain flops out of his skull dripping flies and worms, and his eyeball rolls out the door. The book is a little too gory to be hilarious, and not enough attention is given to the monster's personality to bring him to life.-Susan Marie Pitard, Weezie Library for Children, Nantucket Atheneum, MA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Ghoulish gross-outs abound in this one-joke ditty about a zombie's big break in showbiz. The opening spread pictures Frank at home, relaxing to an episode of Soul Train and accompanied by a patchwork monster-cat. Frank doesn't look like a hoofer. He's comprised of a skull-like green head (zippered around the top), a bulbous blue nose, glowing yellow eyes and skeletal limbs. Nonetheless, he has a dream, and to fulfill it, "He drove to the theater/ and jumped onstage./ Then he danced like his shoe size instead of his age!" During his performance, however, Frank makes a faux pas. His brain, complete with worms and flies, accidentally oozes onto the boards, "And after his arm/ fell out of his sleeve,/ the horrified audience/ started to leave." Newcomer Graves pays generic, goofy homage to Frankenstein and to 1960s-era hot-rod art. He goes heavy on the purple, electric blue and Astroturf green in his polished, nearly 3-D compositions of acrylic and colored pencil. Even the hand-lettered text, with its occasional incorporation of worms, bulging eyes, etc., contributes to the expansion of the punchline, which will likely hit primary graders' funny bones. Ages 2-up. (Apr.)

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