Ford Street, 2022
32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95
Frankie Stein loves doing science experiments while her teddy watches on. She wishes she could chat with him … she’s sure he’s a bear with scientific flair!
But when she mixes up a formula that works, and Bear comes alive, he is not the friendly, cuddly companion she is expecting! Now it’s a race to fix him before everything is destroyed.
With strong links to the original novel by Mary Shelley, this is a junior rhyming version with an underlying theme of being careful what you wish for. Like the original, it is the scientist not the monster with the familiar name, and the teachers’ notes explain the amazing link between Mary Shelley and Ada Lovelace and why October 12 is set aside to celebrate the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) (and the date chosen to publish this review.)
The teaching notes also focus on assisting our younger readers to think about what scientists do, science in their lives, and offer some simple science that they can practise that is much safer than creating a monster bear. The story could start discussions about the reality of monsters in general. Could Frankie Stein really make a potion to bring her bear to life, regardless of how clever she is? Or it may also inspire more advanced readers to seek out a junior version of the original novel while others might like to investigate the meaning of the original’s subtitle, The Modern Prometheus. It could also start discussions about the reality of monsters in general. Could Frankie Stein really make a potion to bring her bear to life, regardless of how clever she is? Whichever path is taken, it offers an introduction to one of the enduring characters in literature that children will hear of as their reading journeys continue.