There have been so many exciting new posts on Pop! Goes The Reader lately, and today is no exception! I’m thrilled to have been asked to help reveal the cover for Refe Tuma’s middle grade debut, Frances and The Monster, which will be coming to a bookstore and library near you August 23rd 2022 from HarperCollins.
Featuring breathtaking, atmospheric artwork by Brandon Dorman on its cover, I’ve been obsessed with this creative story about an aspiring scientist and the monster she unintentionally awakens ever since I first learned of it, and I’m so grateful to have been able to partner with author Refe Tuma to share all the details about this upcoming middle grade adventure!
About Refe Tuma
Refe Tuma is the co-creator of Dinovember and the What The Dinosaurs Did picture book series, including What The Dinosaurs Did Last Night, named a Best Children’s Book of the Year with Honors by Bank Street College and What The Dinosaurs Did The Night Before Christmas which hits shelves October 26 (!!). Frances and The Monster is his debut Middle Grade novel and will be published by HarperCollins on August 23, 2022. He lives with his family and his dog Boris in Kansas City, where he once experienced all four seasons in a single day. Oh, and it’s pronounced ‘reef.’
The story that would eventually become Frances and the Monster began as an idea for an animated short film. I’d always loved stop motion animation and the idea of a new take on the myth of the modern prometheus with a child at its center would not let me go.
As the character of Frances Stenzel developed, however, it quickly became clear that her story was bigger than a ten minute short could contain.
Frances and the Monster is set in Bern, Switzerland, a picturesque city filled with medieval streets and buildings, stone arcades, and iconic red-tiled rooftops.
From day one, my editor Alice and I agreed that Bern’s unique cityscape should serve as the backdrop for the cover art. The city’s cobblestone alleys and century’s old stonework play such an important role in Frances’s adventures that, as I drafted the story, the city began to feel like a character in its own right.
Brandon has done an incredible job capturing that character in his illustration. From the colors to the long shadows and late evening light, his art sets the scene for the story so perfectly.
For the title treatment, we wanted something that would evoke the classic posters and magazines of the 1930s and ’40s. I love what Catherine Lee and the design team at HarperCollins came up with and I can’t wait for readers to get their hands on the full jacket.
It was a strange experience to hand over the reigns to someone else after creating the cover art with my wife Susan Tuma for our What the Dinosaurs Did picture book series. Even stranger, maybe, is that both this cover and the cover of What The Dinosaurs Did The Night Before Christmas which comes out on October 26 ended up featuring a similar rooftop composition — purely by coincidence!
I want to give a big shoutout to Brandon Dorman, Catherine Lee, Alice Jerman, and the rest of my HarperCollins team for their fantastic work, and thank YOU for checking out our cover reveal. I hope you like it and I’m looking to sharing Frances and the Monster with you next summer!
Cover design by Catherine Lee, Cover art by Brandon Dorman
Title Frances and The Monster
Author Refe Tuma
Target Audience Middle Grade
Publication Date August 23rd 2022 by HarperCollins
Find It On Goodreads
Frances Stenzel is an aspiring scientist, and one day she’ll be a world-famous inventor like her parents…if they’d only let her leave the house.
When Frances is left home yet again with only an infuriatingly clever robot named Hobbes for company, she enters her parents’ off-limits laboratory, determined to claim her freedom and prove her scientific mettle.
Instead, she accidentally awakens her great-grandfather’s secret and most terrible invention — an enormous monster who breaks out of the manor and disappears into the city below.
With her pet chimp, Fritz, and a reluctant Hobbes by her side, Frances sets off to find the monster, facing a persistent constable, angry locals, and an unexpected friendship along the way. But with the trail going cold and the monster nowhere in sight, Frances is running out of time before her future science career, and the town itself, are doomed forever.