Heart-Hater: A Crankenstein Valentine by Samantha Berger
YOU CAN'T MISS CRANKENSTEIN ON VALENTINE'S DAY.
YOU WOULD SAY "HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, MY LOVE!"
CRANKENSTEIN WOULD SAY "YEEECHHHH!"
How do you change HATER TO HEART?
No, it's not one of those tedious schoolroom word jumbles. It is the story of a little boy who find Valentine's Day downright repulsive. You, dear reader, know that Crankenstein is no fan of hearts and flowers as soon as you open the book. The opening endpapers feature candy hearts that say GAAK!, SCRAM, YUCK, and I'VE SEEN BETTER!
Crankenstein's face is already monster green. His mom's warm greeting and red-ribbon-wrapped gift makes him cringe when he sees its contents--heart-printed tightie whities. She also makes him carry a bouquet of fresh-cut roses to his teacher. YEEECHHHH!
The day only gets worse. On the school bus someone plants a big red smooch on his kisser. His lunch juice box says "Love Potion." He has to make stinky, pinky paper chains to decorate the classroom. He even has to play Cupid, complete with cute little wings and bow and arrow, in the Valentine's Day program. So by the time art class rolls around and the kids begin to make Valentines for their secret crushes, Crankenstein has just the rhyme in mind for his:
ROSES ARE RED,
VIOLETS ARE BLUE
VALENTINE'S DAY STINKS!
Then comes the potentially worst moment of the day when a certain girl hands him her handmade Valentine. He's got his biggest YEEECHHHH! of the day ready,... until he reads it.
ROSES ARE RED,
VIOLETS ARE BLUE.
ON VALENTINE'S DAY
I FEEL JUST LIKE YOU!
Crankenstein's face turns a bit pink as he senses a similarly minded soulmate, in Samantha Berger's A Crankenstein Valentine (Little, Brown and Company, 2014). Again partnered with illustrator Dan Santat, ably channeling his inner monster, Berger uses her story to give those lovey-dovey-day resisters a voice, even if it is a Yeeechhhh screech! Santat's Crankenstein is back again, representing those numerous nay-sayers of that holiday that turns some kids into cranks. But perhaps there's a hint of a change of heart for our little anti-hero to be found in the closing endpapers--candy hearts that say BE MINE, CALL ME, YAY YOU! and XOXO!
Berger and Santat's first book together was Crankenstein (Little Brown and Company, 2013). (Read my cranky review here.)