A Crankenstein Valentine – Perfect Picture Book Friday

12 Jun

It’s time for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday! Ever get cranky on days that everyone else likes to celebrate? Looking for someone who’s simpatico with your outlook? Well, A Crankenstein Valentine by Samantha Berger (illustrated by the fabulous Dan Santat), may be right up your alley. (Yes, I know we’re nowhere near Valentine’s Day, but I saw this sitting on the “new” shelf at the library today and fell in love.) Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 12.29.12 PM Is this your average Valentine’s Day sweet book? 6349266_s End paper hearts, containing the words:





Put the reader in the right mood. The opening spread shows a bedroom door covered in posters of a skull, “Keep Out,” and “Stay Away.” Mom’s hand, the sleeve of her arm covered in a cheery valentine pattern, pushes open the door. She says:

Have you seen my little sweetheart, Crankenstein? You can’t miss Crankenstein on Valentine’s Day. 

Then on the page turn, the narrative makes an interesting switch to second person:


Crankenstein would say, YECHHHH!

Mom gives poor little Crankenstein a present:

You would say, Look who got brand-new HEART UNDIES!

Crankenstein would say, YECHHHH!

And the day goes downhill from there. Taking roses to teachers, getting smooched on the schoolbus, eating mom’s lovingly prepared heart-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the school cafeteria. Oh, the HORROR of the biggest, mushiest, sappiest day one must ever endure at school!  Trouble is, everyone else LOVES LOVES LOVES Valentine’s Day. 26368674_s Until— Soulmates unite.  35380713_s For anyone who suffers through celebrations, events, parties, etc…that everyone else seems to love. All you need is a kindred spirit who feels the same way you do.

Title: A Crankenstein Valentine

Author: Samantha Berger

Illustrator: Dan Santat

Publisher: Little Brown

Pub Date: 2014

38 Responses to “A Crankenstein Valentine – Perfect Picture Book Friday”

  1. heylookawriterfellow June 12, 2015 at 8:14 am #

    It sounds hilarious! But, new arrival? Really?

    • Jilanne Hoffmann June 12, 2015 at 10:02 am #

      New to that branch of the SFPL. Not every branch of the SFPL gets a copy of a new book when it first comes out, apparently. Sad to say. Maybe this branch was later on the order list. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been trying to suggest a newtitle to the SFPL if they don’t have it on order. But I can’t suggest that they buy a copy for every branch. Well, I guess I could, but they have a pretty tight budget, I think.

      • heylookawriterfellow June 15, 2015 at 7:04 am #

        As long as the have a copy of Sarah Gives Thanks, they’re doing just fine.

        • Jilanne Hoffmann June 15, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

          I am pleased to say that the San Francisco Public Library holds 29 copies of Sarah Gives Thanks distributed among its branches. Yay!

        • heylookawriterfellow June 15, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

          And I am most pleased to hear it!

  2. FictionFan June 12, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    Boys! Tchah! Or perhaps Yechhhh!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann June 12, 2015 at 10:04 am #

      Exactly. Although (spoiler alert!!!), his “friend” at the end of the book is a girl who’s just as allergic to Valentine’s Day as he is. 😀

  3. Carrie Rubin June 12, 2015 at 10:48 am #

    I think I’d have to side with Crankenstein on the subject of Valentine’s Day… Looks like a cute book!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann June 12, 2015 at 10:53 am #

      Yeah, I go back and forth on the subject. Not a big fan of how hypercommercial all these “special” days have become.

  4. Wendy June 12, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    A good title to know for next year! (I’ve learned that my library puts the nicest looking, least beat up books on the ‘new’ shelf! They’ve tricked me many a time)

    • Jilanne Hoffmann June 12, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

      Yes, “new” is relative isn’t it? Well, I guess it was new to me. 😀

  5. Joanna June 12, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    Sam Berger is one of the funniest picture writers out there at the moment. I love how she twists stuff on end!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann June 12, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

      Yes, this book had me laughing all the way through. I’m trying to learn a thing or two or ten from her.

  6. Sue Heavenrich June 12, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

    valentines day? Blah! humbug! This looks like the perfect book for me.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann June 12, 2015 at 4:57 pm #

      Ah, another kindred soul. It appeals there are more than a few folks who think Valentine’s Day is overrated. 😀

  7. Joanne Roberts June 12, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

    HaHa. Perfect for my son. He”ll be crying from laughter. Thanks.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann June 12, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

      Yes, so was my son. I couldn’t help but smirk a bit, too. 😀

  8. viviankirkfield June 13, 2015 at 5:26 am #

    Oh Jilanne…this is hilarious! Definitely one to grab for a hardy chuckle. 🙂 And pretty clever…never thought to see this holiday from a monster’s POV.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann June 14, 2015 at 10:57 pm #

      It is quite funny. It’s a great example of how the text and illustrations can be in hilarious opposition. Cheers!

  9. Britt Skrabanek June 13, 2015 at 10:15 am #

    Haha, love it! I’ve always been a Valentine Scrooge. Love everyday, people…come on now! 🙂

  10. Patricia Tilton June 13, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    What a clever book. I love Berger’s work, so I’m sure I’d enjoy this one! Very unique!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann June 14, 2015 at 10:59 pm #

      Yes, clever, well-written, and terrific illustrations. Give it a look!

  11. Letizia June 14, 2015 at 9:49 am #

    Looks like a delightful and silly book!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann June 14, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

      Delightfully silly is the perfect description. But it’s also a book that will resonate with those who may stand on the opposite side of the fence of the majority. Surely there must be others who feel the same way?!

  12. Laurel Leigh June 14, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

    Ha ha, I may have to have a reading of it at my house on the next V-Day. It will go along with the frog-to-prince “plant” my friend gave me.

  13. Kate Johnston June 18, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    This sounds super adorable. I could have used this many moons ago!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann June 18, 2015 at 11:17 pm #

      So, you had little Crankensteins running around your house many moons ago? Did they grow up into big Crankensteins? 😀

  14. ThisKidReviewsBooks June 18, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

    This sounds great! 😀

  15. Ste J June 21, 2015 at 8:21 am #

    How did I miss this post on my blog jaunts! I tend to get this feeling at New Year’s parties, so it’s nice to have somebody as contrary to take as a role model, although I would be happy were some ladies to mention underwear with hearts on. I suppose I am the biggest hypocrite after all.

  16. Sheila June 22, 2015 at 10:50 am #

    That’s a great idea for a book, especially because Valentine’s Day was never much fun at school. Just looking at those candy hearts makes me think YECHH! I tolerate it now only for the chocolate.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann June 22, 2015 at 10:56 am #

      Yes, chocolate is the redeeming feature of the day, isn’t it? 😀

  17. Cecilia June 25, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

    It sounds and looks like an awesome book. Thanks for sharing.

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