Wednesday, July 21, 2021

FRANKENSLIME : A Review, Illustrator Interview, and an Autographed Giveaway!

 Today I'm pleased to review Frankenslime (Macmillan, 2021) written by Joy Keller and illustrated by Ashley Belote. I'm particularly excited since Ashley is the Carolinas-SCBWI illustrator coordinator and this is her debut picture book.

Take a look at this amazing cover!


Here is the book's simple, yet captivating first line:

Victoria Franken was a slime scientist.

What kid wouldn't want to keep reading after that?


Victoria loved experimenting and creating different slime combinations, but quickly became bored...

Along with her trusted research assistant, (her dog, Igor), Victoria set out to try some new combinations. Following the scientific method, Victoria didn't stop trying, even when she didn't exactly meet with success.

Victoria started creating slimes that were so amazing that people lined up to get them!

But Victoria wasn't satisfied. One night she got an idea that wouldn't let her rest. She and Igor went to her attic laboratory. While a storm raged outside, she poured and mixed until...

  Victoria held her breath. Igor whimpered. 

They watched as this newest slime became ALIVE!

Although Victoria initially runs away from her creation, "cursing her chemistry skills," in the end, Goop (as Victoria names him) becomes her new lab partner, and together they come up with slime recipes which they share at the end of the book.

Both children and adults (who are familiar with the Frankenstein story) will enjoy this book. The recipes at the end are a nice addition to a fictional picture book. The author has inserted a STEM connection too as Victoria learns the importance of recording her observations and results.


(Information for us picture book writers who want to know more about the illustrator side of things!)

CAROL: Did the manuscript come to you with illustrator notes? 

ASHLEY:  There were only two art notes in the manuscript. 

CAROL: Were you give total freedom to create the illustrations? 

ASHLEY:  I felt like I had tremendous creative freedom and was able to incorporate my ideas into the work.  After I sent in my first round of sketches, the art director provided feedback that I applied to the work and that direction ultimately resulted in a better book. There were a couple more rounds of changes and then I moved into the final, color artwork. I learned a lot throughout the entire process!  

CAROL: Did you interact with the author at all? 

ASHLEY: Nope! Joy is an amazing writer and this story is so imaginative. We didn't have any contact during the process. We interact a lot on Twitter which is fun. Now that the book has been released, we've been tweeting at each other quite a bit in order to celebrate the book and do some marketing. We do have an event scheduled together next February, so I'm really looking forward to that! 

CAROL: What is your style? What medium did you use?

ASHLEYMy style is definitely whimsical. I tend to illustrate for young, picture book age audiences and skew towards the cute, humorous side of things. My goal is to bring laughter to viewers!

The medium I used for FRANKENSLIME was digital. I am working all digital now using my IPad and Procreate. They are a great combo and I feel like my work gets done efficiently. Procreate is easy to learn and a lot of fun to experiment with!

CAROL: What's up next?

ASHLEY: My debut author/illustrator The Me Tree early reader is being released on November 2 from Penguin Workshop. Valenslime, another book with Joy, will also be released on November 16.  Listen Up, Louella will be released by Fiwell and Friends (Macmillan) in June, 2022.

CAROL: That's great, Ashley. Thanks for joining us and sharing your debut picture book as an illustrator!

Here is Ashley's contact Information. Please follow her at:


One fortunate blog reader will win a personally autographed copy of this fun picture book. Since I know Ashley through SCBWI, let me know in the comments if you are a member and I'll enter your name twice. Giveaway ends July 24 at 9 AM. Please leave your email address if you are new to my blog! Continental U.S. addresses only. 


Congratulations to Virignia Rinkel who won Saving Lady Liberty last week. 

Here's a note from Claudia Friddell:

"Thank you for all of your wonderful comments and thanks, Carol, for your review and interview for Saving Lady Liberty. It was a joy to write, and I loved having the opportunity of sharing Pulitzer and Lady Liberty’s story with your readers!”


Susan Wroble said...

I LOVE Slime! Can't wait to read the book. As a volunteer at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, this is exactly the type of book they look for on their children's shelves. Congrats! (SCBWI member)

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Susan. Your name starts the giveaway list with 2 entires!

Connie Porter Saunders said...

I know more about slime than I ever thought possible, thanks to my seven-year-old granddaughter! This book sounds delightful. Please enter my name.

Terri DeGezelle Michels said...

It is a gift to be able to allow the illustrations to help tell your story. thank you for sharing.

Danielle H. said...

I actively seek to read and review debut authors' books and this one looks so fun! I am a member of SCBWI.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Connie, Terrri, and Danielle! All your names are in the giveaway--and Danielle--you're in twice!

MeiLin's Scribbles said...

I first read about the book from Ashley's post on Storystorm and Joy is my mentor!
montagpost(at)gmail(dot)com and a SCBWI member

Carol Baldwin said...

Aren't you lucky to have Joy as a mentor! Thanks for stopping by. Your name goes in twice!

Rosi said...

Gosh, this looks really cute. Thanks for telling me about it. I am a member of SCBWI.

Susan said...

One of my sons-in-law is a scientist and I'm sure his kids would love this! Thank!

Janet Frenck Sheets said...

I love all the different types of slime identified on the bottles and sign. Did Ashley come up with those, too? They're very creative. (I'm a SCBWI member.)

Carol Baldwin said...

I bet she did, Janet. Your name is in twice, and Susan I have you too!

Gail Hurlburt said...

Please enter my name in the giveaway. I know one of my granddaughters would love the book! Thanks!


Carol Baldwin said...

You're in Gail!

Barbara Younger said...

Now this has to be the best title every for a book! I'd love to win a copy.

Carol Baldwin said...

I know, Barbara. Great book too!

Kari said...

I love this very fun book! Congrats, Ashley!

Zachary Snyder said...

Oh my twins would love this book!
My email is

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Zachary. Nice to hear from you again!

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