Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What's Under the Bed?

Fenton, Joe. 2008. What's Under the Bed?

Incredible illustrations, simple text, What's Under the Bed is a book that almost works well. Almost. I loved the illustrations. They're striking. Using limited amount of colors--black, gray, white--with the barest splashes of red, green, and blue, it is also incredibly detailed. The book tells the story of a boy who is afraid that something or rather someone might be under his bed. The boy has a vivid imagination when it comes to imagining just who that someone might be--and what that someone might be like.

As I mentioned, the text is simple.

"Time for bed, Fred!"
"But I want to play with Ted."
"No, no, it's time to lay down your head."

And simple can be a good thing. The text also rhymes. Rhymes can be either very very good (think Adam Rex) or very very bad. In this case, the rhyming isn't a true detriment. However, the rhymes do feel a bit forced, a bit unnatural. Not all the time, just some of the time. I think writers sometimes forget that people don't really talk in rhymes all that often. And when you make all your dialogue rhyme, it loses authenticity, naturalness, the human touch.

I liked this book. Didn't love it. But there's nothing wrong with a "like."

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

1 comment:

Anthony S. Jastrow said...

Hey Becky, Nice review. I totally agree! I loved the illustrations more than anything! I am actually trying to obtain the rights to the books to produce a stop-motion animated short film from it! I was wondering if you might be able to help me contact Joe Fenton so I can pitch the idea to him. I can not seem to find any information on him axcept that he's worked for Disney. If you know anything, please let me know. You can email me at ajastrow at gmail dot com