In their second collaborative parody, Walton and Hale join forces under the pen name of “Ludworst Bemonster” to create a comic tale combining elements of the Frankenstein story, “The Night Before Christmas” and the classic Madeline.
Twelve young monsters live in an old Victorian house with their guardian, Miss Devel, a mad-scientist sort with a white lab coat and safety goggles. On Christmas Eve, Santa attempts to deliver presents to the little monsters. Due to the deteriorating nature of the old mansion, Santa and the reindeer fall through the roof, and out of his sack come raining new heads for all the monsters but young Frankenstein. He tells Santa that he would like to learn to fly as his gift, so all the monsters pile into the sleigh for a trip to the North Pole. The text loosely follows the structure of “The Night Before Christmas” with an occasional line from Madeline. (“Something’s not right!”) There’s lots of humor: monsters switching heads and wetting beds, a Christmas tree decorated with snakes and bones, and plenty of pratfalls and crashes. Echoing the style of Bemelmans, most illustrations use a limited palette of gray and lime-green with splashes of red for Santa and his sleigh. Children do not have to be familiar with Madeline or even Frankenstein to get the humor; slapstick comedy needs little introduction.
Frightfully funny. (Picture book. 4-8)