Frank was a Monster who wanted to Dance
written and illustrated by Keith Graves
Published by Chronicle Books
32 pages, 1999
Buy it online
A Charming Monster
Reviewed by Linda L. Richards
The thing that I look for almost more than anything else in a book for young children is something almost indefinable. It's also somewhat subjective: charm. Of course, what you and I read as charm might be two very different things. You might, for instance, be less than charmed by the eyeball that makes up the "O" in "Monster" in the title on the cover of Frank was a Monster who wanted to Dance. And while, to be perfectly honest, I'm not a huge fan of raw eyeballs, this particular stroke did nothing to diminish the book's charm for me. Nor would it, I suspect, for many of this book's readers.
Frank was a monster who wanted to dance.
This is, of course, not high literature but sometimes kids just want to have fun, too. The nature of the fun may not be wholly approved by all parents. Though I risk adding a spoiler, Frank dances so hard his brains and one eye fall out and his head ultimately falls off, though neither of these deter him from dancing. It's not a frightening journey, by any means. But it's not particularly enriching. The illustrations, however, are another matter altogether.
Linda L. Richards is the editor of January Magazine and the author of the Madeline Carter novels: Mad Money, The Next Ex and Calculated Loss.