Friday, October 05, 2018

Mary, Who Wrote Frankenstein

Mary, Who Wrote Frankenstein. Linda Bailey. Illustrated by Julia Sarda. 2018. 56 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: How does a story begin? Sometimes it begins with a dream. Here is Mary. She's a dreamer. The kind of girl who wanders alone, who stares at clouds, who imagines things that never were. Mary has a name for her daydreams. She calls them "castles in the air." Mary loves stories too. She tries to write the kind that she reads. But the stories she sees in daydreams are the most thrilling of all. And where does she go to read and dream? She goes to a graveyard and sits at her mother's grave.

Premise/plot: Linda Bailey has written a picture book biography of Mary Shelley. It is a lovely picture book for older readers. It remains age-appropriate all things considered. It does NOT go into detail about the private lives of Mary and her family. If Mary had lived today, her choices would not have broken too many conventions. But living when she lived, Mary broke a lot of society's rules. (As did her sister.) She lived life on her terms, perhaps on her husband's terms; she did things her way.

My thoughts: I thought this one was well written. The narrative is compelling. I recently read Catherine Reef's The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's Creator. It offers a lot more detail, and for some more detail might signify "better." But the narrative isn't as compelling or engaging, in my opinion. There's something special about Bailey's text. I would recommend both books to older readers.

Picture books are not just for kids.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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