Just in time for Halloween, Walton and Hale (Twelve Bots of Christmas, 2010) combine their talents to become “Ludworst Bemonster,” author of a droll parody of Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline.
Mimicking the rhyme and pacing of the beloved classic, they introduce readers to “twelve ugly monsters. / In two crooked lines, they bonked their heads, / pulled out their teeth, / and wet their beds.” It will surprise no one to learn that the “ugliest one was Frankenstein. / He scared people out of their socks. / He could even frighten rocks.” He proves particularly challenging to Miss Devel, who late one night finds the green monster without his head. Off he goes with Dr. Bone in a horse-skeleton–drawn hearse. When the monstrous menagerie visits him at the laboratory, most “eeeeew”-inducing are the “two huge new screws” on Frankenstein’s neck. The tale leaves Miss Devel to find the remaining rambunctious monsters completely silent…because “Each had lost his head!” The illustrations have traded sunny yellow for pumpkin orange backgrounds and make comically sly allusions to the original title.
Whether young readers recognize the relationship to the Parisian version or not, adults will appreciate the clever yet silly send-up. Most children, however, will see this as just another funny monster book. (Picture book. 4-7)