I had never read any of the Crankenstein books before, but I wanted a fun read to do with my 2nd graders in small group. This one fit the bill. I first did a read-aloud with the original Crankstein book, and discussed clues in the pictures and the text. That gave them a feel for the character. I do think you could do this book without any knowledge of the first one, though. We read this Valentine book together out loud in guided reading. There are not a ton of things you can discuss with it, but we focused on the main story, pictures, clues in the text, and humor. They LOVED his heart undies, and they could all relate to what makes him feel cranky in both books. It is a level J, which was just right for them. I also read it to my own boys that night at home, and they got a kick out of it, and we shared some laughs along with them choral shouting the unhappy noises the main character (and the female Crankenstein) makes. It is an easy read with humor and fun illustrations. A nice little treat for Valentine's Day that is not mushy and lovey-dovey!