Illustration and Characterization in There's a Monster Under My Bed
Children are drawn to picture books that allow them to feel some sort of elementary emotion such as fear or happiness. Of course all children are different and the types of books they will enjoy depends mostly on their age and their stage of cognitive development, but common to all children is the need for both visual and auditory stimulation. In There's A Monster Under My Bed, James Howe and David Rose combine artistic and visual elements with the characterization of characters to create a captivating yet simple story for young readers. The use of colour and clear wording by the author make this picture book exciting for the child reader.
The first picture of the story is drawn with straight lines that reassure the child that everything is in its place to promote the feeling of safety; children would assume that everything is how it should be at first glance. The use of lighter colours here contrast with the remaining pages of the story therefore giving the child the sense of impending doom as the story continues. The only shadows used on the first page are around Simon's bed allowing the child to imagine what lies there. Howe uses simple sentences here to emphasize the idea of fright. The fact that he uses one word sentences such as "Listen."(1), helps the child understand the intensity of fear the character is feeling. The boy in the story is lying in the middle of his bed on the first page and his face is coated with terror. A child's eyes would be drawn to the boy quickly because he is wearing a bright yellow shirt that contrasts with the surrounding room.
As the story moves on, the legs on the bed start to bend to fit the continually growing amount of monsters under his bed. Rose uses darker colours around the bed and in the corners of the walls to imprint the element of dread on the child reader. The fact that the words do not interfere with the illustration allows the child to fully enjoy the pictures giving them creative space to develop their own feelings towards the story. The expression on the boys face is particularly important since many of the children who enjoy this story are not actually reading it themselves.
The fact that Simon is drawn from different angles (face front, side view, etc.) gives the child reader a more realistic view of the boy by giving us the idea that he has different sides to him. This design lends to the overall feeling of fright by showing him from different angles and at...