Two hundred years ago, a group of writers staying in Switzerland challenged one another to write a ghost story. Among them was Mary Shelley, a young woman who wanted to be a writer, like her friends, and her intended, a poet.
“She Made a Monster, How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein,” by Lynn Fulton relates the tale of how Shelley’s monster-man materialized, elevating the author to notoriety, unheard of in a time when women’s writing was considered sub-par.
At first Mary couldn’t come up with an idea for her story, but that changed when she overheard her colleagues talking about how electricity applied to a frog’s legs made the creature kick. Going back to her room, Mary recalled a similar incident from her childhood, the tale of a scientist who made a corpse move using electricity.
Frankenstein came to her soon thereafter as she visualized a “man, yet not a man . . . (with) “a hideous, scarred face,” and “a young student . . . (who) “had achieved his ambition . . . and given life to the creature on the table.”
Wraithlike illustrations in dark hues by Felicita Sala add an atmospheric chill to this ominous, but informational story. Ages 4-8.