Under My Bed (John Dickson, illus by Guridi, Berbay)
Most people will remember the spine-tingling feeling of lying in bed at night and imagining there are monsters in their bedroom—and the comfort of realising that they’re safely snuggled up in their own bed. That’s exactly what happens in this entertaining picture book for readers aged five and up. The child in the story has been sent to bed and the lights have been turned off. Thus begins the child’s heart-racing imaginings. There are monsters under the bed, in the wardrobe and around the room. They are searching for food and having a good time. It is revealed that they are celebrating their annual monster day, and despite some trepidation at first, the child decides to accept their invitation and join in the fun. By the time the mother comes into the bedroom, the child is on the floor and has to be tucked in again. John Dickson’s rhyming text is easy to read and lightens the mood. Because this wild rumpus happens with the lights out, Guridi’s illustrations are necessarily dark, with many pages showing the eyes of the monsters against the gloom. Ultimately, however, it’s a comfort to know these monsters are friendly.
Margaret Hamilton is a former children’s book publisher. She is now proprietor of Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage in Blackheath, NSW