Natalie Tran is one of Australia’s best comedians and I enjoy her increasingly sporadic uploads to Community Channel on YouTube.
Recently Natalie has been babysitting, and wonders what to do when the kid tells her there’s a monster in their bedroom.
a. Do you go along with it?
b. Do you tell them it’s just their imagination?
I like the idea of going in with a cricket bat and coming out with a bunch of clothes in a black bin liner, announcing the job done, but let’s assume this is a serious question. What is the best thing to do?
Most picture book writers are on ‘a’ side of the fence, not only going along with the idea of monsters, but maybe even introducing the very concept of monsters to children in the first place. I mean, who thinks of this stuff?
And a visit to Wikipedia has just informed me that the lalala stuff at the end is actually “La ilaha illa Allah”, which means “there is no god but Allah” in Arabic. Oooh. Secret religious messages.
A Field Guide to the Eccentric Creatures of Classic Children’s Literature from Huffington Post
The Role Of Children’s Stories In Managing Childhood Fears And Promoting Empowerment, a paper by M.A. Taylor
The Greatest Monsters In Children’s Literature according to Flavorwire
Picture Books With Monsters, a Goodreads list
Must Monsters Always Be Male? at The Guardian
There are a lot of picture books with the message for preschoolers: Don’t be scared of the dark. The monsters you imagine are benign. We’ll then read a book about a terrible monster under the bed who turns out to be an adorable fluffy creature who befriends the child protagonist.
Here’s what I’d like to know: Do all children imagine monsters? Or is the idea of a monster introduced by the very media designed to assuage their fears? If we were to bring up a child sans media, sans Grimm, sans terror, would that child still conjure up the worst?
I doubt anyone has managed that experiment, but I do know that for our part, the resident toddler didn’t start being afraid of the dark until she started watching more sophisticated television and listening with some comprehension to picture books.
Goodreads List of Picture Books About Monsters. (Can you guess the book at number one spot?)
Mythical Beasts and Modern Monsters from Brainpickings
The Best Monster Movie Posters, Ever from IndieWire
Mythological Monsters (2002)
Meet the living, fire-breathing mythical creatures of Greek legend. Sara Fanelli’s distinctive art style combined with the unusual design of the text adds new dimensions to the traditional picture-book experience.
ONCE IN A cave, lived a horrible ugly monster. Perhaps the most horrible and ugly monster in the world. . . .
So ugly is the monster that he can turn a blue sky to snow and evaporate a pond just by dipping his toe in it. No living thing can stand to be in his presence. But the monster is not ugly on the inside; he’s just lonely. So he decides to build some friends out of stone, but even stones can’t stand the full force of the monster’s smile, and they all shatter . . . except for one.
FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION
Talk for Writing Home-school Booklet: Marvellous Monsters by Maria Richards