The New York Times - Sarah Harrison Smith
The text of this book is simple but effective…Berger, vice president of animated shorts at Nickelodeon and the author of many children's books…has a well-honed sense of comic timing that little kids find hilarious, and Crankenstein, with its many exclamation marks, growls and grumbles should unleash the actor in any adult kind enough to read it aloud.
Berger’s (Martha Doesn’t Share) sardonic riff on bad moods involves an unnamed narrator (Crankenstein’s parent, clearly) describing scenarios that turn an average boy into a drooling green monster. Berger’s writing is sharp and funny to begin with, and Santat’s (The Three Ninja Pigs) polished, klieg-lit spreads bring the energy over the top. “Have you seen Crankenstein?” the narrator starts innocently, as someone under the covers ignores the morning sun. “Oh, you would totally know if you had,” the narrator continues, as the quilt gets yanked away and the boy desperately shields himself against the light. “You would say, ‘Good morning!! How are you?’ Crankenstein would say, ‘Mehhrrrr!’ ” School mornings drive Crankenstein to his knees; icy Halloweens leave him shivering in his robot costume; melting popsicles and long lines drive him wild. Santat’s faux-airbrush style excels in capturing the beating rays of the sun and the eerie blue of the television screen. Not until Crankenstein meets a kindred spirit does his mood improve. Expect many re-read requests from Crankensteins who may (or may not) recognize themselves. Ages 3–6. Author’s agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Illustrator’s agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Aug.)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The grumpy monster inside all of us who rears its ugly head when things go wrong-the one who says "MEHHRRR!" to every cheerful suggestion-takes center stage in this picture book describing a kid at his most ornery."
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
We are told how to recognize angry, green-faced Crankenstein: his reply to "Good morning" is "MEHHRRRR!" So is his comment on the lack of syrup for pancakes, and when reminded that it is time for school. He seems to appear on super rainy days, extra cold Halloweens, and "especially when it's way too hot for popsicles." He hates standing in long lines, taking gross cough syrup, and bedtime. But when he meets another Crankenstein, on Santat's facing pages, he begins to laugh, and becomes just an ordinary boy after all. Crankenstein, we are warned, will probably be back again, "...but definitely not today." It's too beautiful a day and time to play. Santat has clearly visualized the stylized angry monster on the jacket as his ice cream falls out of his cone. The front and back cover displays the "anatomy" of a sullen Crankenstein, also front and back, with labeled parts like "untied shoe (and a little dog poo)," and "mosquito bite from late last night." Some interior scenes seem to have fun emulating horror comic book adventures. Young readers should find much with which they can identify. Check out the contrasting end pages, and the added fun of the note "about this book." Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—The bedroom looks like it belongs to an average boy: scattered checkers, model trucks, and a baseball on the floor; tiny action figures near the alarm clock on the night table; and a monster-face lamp grinning its terrible grin… well, okay, maybe the lamp is a tip-off. When the blanketed figure on the bed is roused by a hearty, "Good morning!!" his startled face is green and goggle-eyed, and his only comment is, "MEHHRRRR!" Crankenstein's eyes bulge dangerously yellow over a stack of pancakes when the syrup bottle is empty. His green and awful face is reflected in a pool of water on a rainy day, and it leers disgustedly when approached by a dripping, garish red spoonful of Dr. Giggles cough syrup. It seems as though everything turns a boy into a Crankenstein. Will the creature ever turn from "MEHHRRRR!" to merry? Youngsters will roar along with Crankenstein through this silly and sympathetic story of grumpy-grouchies. Santat's striking digital illustrations, generous in size, have hilarious details that will inspire repeated readings.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
Whoa. Be prepared for the intense frustrations, the moody outbursts and the green scowls of Crankenstein. Berger, who must be writing from direct experience with such a fellow, wryly informs readers what to expect. When offered a huge stack of pancakes with only the last small drop of syrup, Crankenstein's reply is an angry "MEHHRRRR!!" A similar response comes when it is "time for school" or "when it's WAY too hot for Popsicles" or "when…it's bedtime." Santat brilliantly utilizes Adobe Photoshop to zoom in on every extreme facial expression and clenched fist that conveys the barely contained anger and leads to the eventual unleashing of Crankenstein's fury. Each setting reveals sly comic elements that both kids and their grown-ups will appreciate. Readers will laugh out loud at the monster's seemingly over-the-top reactions and relate to the many tantrum-provoking situations. Being forced to swallow gross cough syrup? Waiting forever in line for anything? In the end, only a fellow Crankenstein can jolt him back to normalcy. Perhaps such extreme behavior is truly funny when spotted in another. Get ready to read this aloud a lot. (Picture book. 3-7)
The Horn Book
"Sometimes-when you have to go to school, when you have to take cough syrup-all there is to say is "MEHHRRRR!"... This is a No, David! for slightly older kids..."
From the Publisher
Praise for Crankenstein:"
Expect many re-read requests from Crankensteins who may (or may not) recognize themselves."—Publishers Weekly"
Will the creature ever turn from "MEHHRRRR!" to merry? Youngsters will roar along with Crankenstein through this silly and sympathetic story of grumpy-grouchies."—School Library Journal"
Whoa. Be prepared for the intense frustrations, the moody outbursts and the green scowls of Crankenstein...Each setting reveals sly comic elements that both kids and their grown-ups will appreciate. Readers will laugh out loud...Get ready to read this aloud a lot." —Kirkus Reviews "
Sometimes-when you have to go to school, when you have to take cough syrup-all there is to say is "MEHHRRRR!"... This is a No, David! for slightly older kids..."—The Horn Book