Welcome to PB Planet!

If you like picture books, peanut butter, or both, you've crash-landed in the right spot. Fluff your reading pillow, grab a spoon, and stay awhile!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Inside Scoop: Do NOT Build A Frankenstein!

Howdy, PBnauts! I have a special blog post today. The awesome author/illustrator Neil Numberman shares his concept-to-completion journey of his first PB, Do NOT Build a Frankenstein! How cool is that? Now, can you do a decent Frankenstein impersonation? Show Neil in person at his big book reading/signing at NYC's Books of Wonder on Halloween Day! Check out the write-up in Time Out New York for more info:
Be sure to check Neil's website for all the latest and greatest:
And definitely check back in late November when Neil and the awesome Aaron Reynolds (Chicks and Salsa, Buffalo Wings, and the Tiger Moth series) guest-host PB Planet and chat about their new amazing graphic novel, Joey Fly, Private Eye in Creepy Crawly Crime. (It's so good, Monkeykid swiped it from me and soon as it came in, and wouldn't give it back until she finished it today!)
Take it away, Neil!

When I was a senior in undergrad, at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, I decided to make my thesis a picture book version of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. This was in 2002! I created a dummy book, and went to work on finishing four pieces from that. But after school, I couldn't quite make the story work as a children's book. My monster was too wacky for the story's serious topics. Then when I came up to New York City in 2004, I tried my hand at it again for my first year book project at the School of Visual Arts' MFA Illustration program. Again, I got some great pieces out of it, but still no perfect story. Then along came Martha Mihalick over at Greenwillow Books, who stumbled across my website in 2006, and saw some of the paintings I did for my retelling of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. After a couple back and forths, some modifications to the dummy book here and there, we had a kid telling the story of HIS experience building a monster, much like Dr. Victor Frankenstein recounts his tale of the monster to the crew that rescues him in the North Pole (hence the reason my book mostly takes place in the snow...)

I'm told by many people, over and over again, that Frankenstein was not the monster, he was the inventor, and my response to that is "Of course that's true, but who cares!" The monster has been embedded in Halloween and horror tales for over a century now, and much like most folklore, the facts evolve and get mixed up over time. Not to mention, I didn't want the title to be Do NOT Build a Frankenstein's Monster!, although that does have a certain awkward ring to it.

So now that the book is out, we're gearing up for the book reading/signing at Books of Wonder in New York City on Halloween! My girlfriend is making some of the most incredible Frankenstein cupcakes that I can't reveal too much about right now, but these things are gonna be the coolest looking cupcakes. And delicious!

I SO wish I could go! Somebody save me a cupcake!

Have a fab day, PBnauts!


Linda said...

This is one of the best concepts for a picture book to have been published lately. I love the slightly exasperated tone of the narrator. Thanks for sharing how it came to be!

Ame Dyckman said...

WOW! That's a great compliment to Neil, Linda! (Whose own PB, Maggie's Monkeys, totally rocks!) HOORAY, I'm happy my author friends like each other! I want to throw in my "I love" about the artwork: I LOVE Frankenstein's big ol' upper body, and skinny beanpole legs! Illustrative genius!

Corey Schwartz said...

Okay, I'm sold. off to amazon right this second to buy it!

Ame Dyckman said...

Awesome, Corey! I know you'll love it! It's a great read-again, too. So see, that makes it really quite reasonably priced, if you can read it over and over! I'm gonna use that one on Husband Guy the next time he beats me home to the "Amazon Pyramid" stacked on our porch!

ME: But honey, they're all read-again worthy! So really, it's the low cost-per-read you should be thinking of, not the total bill!

Blog Archive