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Hazel Nutt, Mad Scientist

Hazel Nutt, Mad Scientist

by David Elliott, True Kelley (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
In Elliott's (The Transmogrification of Roscoe Wizzle) motley medley of one-liners, Hazel Nutt stars as a tomboyish scientist, with the requisite lab coat and shock of black hair. "Of course I'm mad!" she admits. "Igor ate my sandwich!" Igor, her boy assistant, has two heads, one with red curls, the other with spiked purple hair and punky shades. "Two heads are a lot better than one," he says. He helps Hazel attach a vampire's head to an opera singer's body, creating "Dracula-la-la!" Meanwhile, in the town of Hamburg-with-Ketchup, villagers plot to "storm Nutt's laboratory" in classic style, brandishing torches despite a child's complaint that "Flashlights were invented years ago." Just in time, Hazel joins a monster with a piano to produce "Frankensteinway!" who calms the townsfolk by performing with Dracula-la-la. (Whether or not youngsters will get the brand-name joke, which arrives at the climactic moment, is unclear.) Kelley's (Three Stories You Can Read to Your Cat) watercolor cartoons include such incidentals as Hazel's supply cabinet, which contains the strange ("Furry Formula"; fingernails, located next to the thumbtacks) and the mundane (shampoo). Sight gags range from "time flies" buzzing around a clock, to the pink hands on Hazel's "arm chair" and the feet on her "foot stool"; and the transmonsterfied piano is a hoot. Neither the wordplay nor the giddy visuals generate much momentum, but readers who love a pun, no matter how atrocious, might enjoy this silly invention. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
With her weird, two-headed assistant Igor, Dr. Nutt keeps busy in her laboratory creating monsters. Putting the head of a vampire on the body of an opera singer produces "Dracula-la-la." Meanwhile, in the nearby village of Hamburg-with-Ketchup, the villagers organize to march on the lab and its vampires, while as a companion to Dracula-la-la, Nutt assembles Frankensteinway from a piano and other assorted monster parts. Together, the two monsters soothe the arriving villagers with their beautiful music while Dr. Nutt serves "finger food" for refreshment and Igor sings backup. The now delighted citizens present the doctor with the key to the city. This may prove to be a mistake, as the creation from this, "Key-ture from the Black Lagoon, the monster no cage can hold" bodes ill for the future in this pun-and-fun-filled story. Watercolor, pen and ink, and Dr. Nutt's "Formula X" are used to create the myriad of amusing sketchy details in a tale that is funny even if you don't know the original horror stories it is parodying. There are labels on boxes, jars and inventions to add chuckles. The visuals are fine partners for the slapstick text from the "dark and stormy night" on. 2003, Holiday House, Ages 4 to 8.
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-On a dark and stormy night, mad scientist Dr. Hazel Nutt attaches a vampire head to the body of an opera singer. "One bolt of lightning later and- yes! It is the birth of Hazel Nutt's masterpiece: DRACULA-LA-LA!" Meanwhile, in a village not far away, a town meeting is taking place. The elders agree that Dr. Nutt must be prevented from making any more monsters and decide to storm her laboratory. Oblivious to the plan, she has provided Dracula-la-la with a companion, a live piano called Frankensteinway. As the villagers descend, they hear music, attend a concert given by the two monsters, and have a good time. The mayor even hands Dr. Nutt a key to the city. The watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations are bright and colorful or have dark backgrounds of black and gray to depict nighttime. Little details add to the humor of the story, such as a plant with an animal's head trapped inside, labeled "`Venus Cow-trap' patent pending: Hazel Nutt." The text is a little forced at times and some of the expressions will need to be explained, but children with a good sense of humor should appreciate this book.-Kristin de Lacoste, South Regional Public Library, Pembroke Pines, FL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.36(w) x 9.26(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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