The story of “Frankenstein” has been told and adapted since Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley first wrote the story as a challenge to pass the time in Lake Geneva one cold and wet summer. First intended as a short story, Shelley was encouraged to expand it into a full novel by Percy Bysshe Shelley, her husband. What began as a way to pass the time, has become one of classic literature’s enduring tales of science gone horribly wrong by man’s attempts to play God.
Shelley’s macabre tale of Victor Frankenstein and his attempts to reanimate dead tissue in the form of a man has been adapted by dozens of authors, film makers and stage directors. Teens who like horror and the stories of monsters coming to life can enjoy the story of Shelley’s modern Prometheus in all sorts of adaptations. The San Francisco Children’s Fiction Examiner recommends Shelley’s original tale along with three others that will especially appeal to younger readers.
“Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus” by Mary Shelley (Simon and Brown, 2012) The classic tale and one of the earliest versions of science fiction, Shelley’s novel was first published in 1818. Gothic novels were all the rage and her story of a scientist determined to reanimate dead tissue still intrigues readers in the twenty-first century.
“Steampunk: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” illustrated by Zdenko Basic and Manuel Sumberac (Running Press Kids, 2012) This version of Shelley’s book retains the prose of the original and adds steampunk illustrations. The time period when the book was written and from which it takes its setting make it a perfect fit for adding the gadgets and fashion that are true steampunk.
“Frankenstein: A Pop-Up Book” by Sam Ita (Sterling, 2010) Pop-up images, pull tabs and all sorts of interactive elements make this a one-of-a-kind adaptation of Shelley’s classic horror story. Bolts of lightning and terrifying images of the monster fill the pages of this book.
“Frankenstein: The Graphic Novel” by Mary Shelley, adapted by Brigit Viney and Jason Colby (Lucent Books, 2010) This full-color graphic novel emphasizes many themes of the original story. The alienation of the monster, wanting to belong, understanding and the sheer horror Victor Frankenstein felt for his own creation are all included.
To get more book suggestions for children of all ages, to read book reviews and learn about book and author events, subscribe to the San Francisco Children’s Fiction Examiner.