Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Review: Frankenstink! Garbage Gone Bad

Publish May 5, 2015

What could possibly become of the gunk, toys, and wrappers that get shoved under the bed? Governor General award-winning illustrator Ron Lightburn provides one daunting possibility: it could become an unstoppable, disgusting creature! In Frankenstink! Garbage Gone Bad, a boy’s runaway imagination and messy-room problems converge. It’s a picture book kids won’t be able to look away from – even if they want to. Inspired by movie and comic book monsters of his childhood, Lightburn brings Frankenstink to life with sound-based word choices and dark illustrations. The reader will practically hear him come out from under the bed and ooze to the fridge, trashcans, and eventually the dump. While some rhyming couplets are disjointed, most provide an effective, eerie aesthetic quality: “It empties each bottle, each box and each bag/ with a gross-sounding gulp and a gurgling gag.” Equally spellbinding – and, for some readers, terrifying – are Lightburn’s acrylic illustrations, which progress on a dark blue background. As trash accumulates and congeals, the boy and his dog look on, aghast. Eventually the garbage becomes a toxic green slime that explodes, covering everything, and, just when we think it’s over, we realize it has just begun. The book’s glow-in-the dark jacket is equally enticing, though kids won’t want to see it late at night! Lightburn also adds an environmental spin: to prevent the formation of Frankenstink, the boy and his dog clean, compost, and recycle frantically while his parents look on in surprise. You never know – this book may instigate a bedroom cleaning!

Frankenstink! Garbage Gone Bad

Ron Lightburn
Tundra Books, Penguin Random House of Canada
ISBN 13: 978-1-77049-694-1

Jen Bailey
Jen Bailey Jen Bailey is an Ontario-certified teacher who holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She works for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Jen’s other book reviews have appeared in Quill & Quire and Canadian Children’s Book News.

The National Reading Campaign publishes children's book reviews under a Creative Commons License. This review is entirely free to reproduce and republish online and in print. Credit must be given to the reviewer and the National Reading Campaign. Reviews can be edited for brevity only. Contact Us for more information.