Gr 3-5--The bicentenary of Frankenstein has generated a lot of attention for the origin story of its author, Mary Godwin Shelley. With this title, Fulton demonstrates the challenges of presenting literary history for younger readers. Sala's illustrations convey the gothic tone of the source material, complete with spooky trees, jagged lightning, and Shelley's famously aquiline profile. Fulton has the harder task of translating Shelley's Romantic ideas of inspiration "like a bolt of lightning" into the rhetoric of empowerment. Although "Mary wants to become a writer," she is lonely, plagued by writer's block, and sidelined by egotistical male poets. Overhearing Lord Byron and Percy Shelley's talk of reanimated corpses, Shelley poses two crucial questions: "Wouldn't it be...more terrifying, to be such a creature" and, after dreaming of a monster, "What did it want from her?" These questions of identification and purpose are crucial, but unresolved in the narrative. Statements like "her mother was right! A woman's writing could be just as important as a man's" feel off-center, because, unlike Frankenstein's creature, this version of Shelley never raises her voice against her oppressors or triumphantly presents her act of defiance. Indeed, readers leave her picking up her pen, before her novel fully comes to life. VERDICT Though slight on biography, this is a satisfyingly creepy take on a literary genius and the power of transforming nightmares. An additional purchase.--Katherine Magyarody, Texas A&M University, College StationCopyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Inspired by Mary Shelley's introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein, this imagining of the classic's creation acquaints readers to a true story of literary ingenuity. Two hundred years ago, a young Mary, dreaming of becoming a writer, visited the poet Lord Byron on the shore of Lake Geneva with her future husband Percy Bysshe Shelley and other friends. A competition to write the best ghost story, a conversation about electricity being used to reanimate a frog, and a haunting dream spur Shelley's imagination until she finds her ghost story and sets about writing it. Moody illustrations by Sala, in jewel tones and shades of gray, mimic the atmosphere of Shelley's best-known novel. A note from debut author Fulton explains included details that are not directly noted in the source material. This is a useful introduction to Shelley and a valuable touchstone for discussions about persistence and the creative process. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.