Jessica Straley
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Young Frankensteins
Graphic children’s texts and the twenty-first-century monster
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This chapter traces the evolution of the Frankenstein Monster’s image in children’s literature, particularly recent picture books by Jennifer Adams and Allison Oliver, Keith Graves, Patrick McDowell, and Neil Numberman and a film directed by Tim Burton. These texts reveal both the conflict between Gothic fiction and children’s literature as well as the conflation of the two modes in modern conceptions of the child as monster. In so doing, they engage the child’s anxiety about monstrosity, naughtiness, and aberrant desire; while some texts seek to tame and to normalise the monster’s unruly body, reassuring readers that abnormality is only temporary, Graves’s Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance and Burton’s Frankenweenie celebrate the enduring deviance and wonderful weirdness that continue to constitute monster and child alike.

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