Monsters at bedtime: managing fear in bedtime picture books for children

Maynes, M.L. (2020) Monsters at bedtime: managing fear in bedtime picture books for children. Humanities & Social Sciences Communications, 7 (63). pp. 1-7. ISSN 2662-9992

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Monsters make frequent appearances in bedtime stories for children, where they represent a range of common childhood fears, in particular those associated with night-time. In this article, the role and nature of ‘bedtime’ monsters is explored with reference to picture book examples from 20th to 21st century children’s literature. The ways in which they help children to manage fears are shown to be through a combination of both psychological and literary strategies, drawing on examples of English language picture books for children aged 2–5 years, but with a particular focus on three contemporary texts: Molly and the Night Monster; Bedtime for Monsters and The Wardrobe Monster. It is argued that these texts often mirror coping strategies preferred by young children, in particular positive pretence, where threats are minimised or eliminated by mentally changing or altering perception of them. However, in addition to positive pretence, fears are further managed by literary and visual devices employed by the picture book creator/s, in particular in the presentation of images. The article concludes by noting that this is a group of texts which is now sufficiently established to be open to self-reference and parody, and consequently new and playful variations on the bedtime monster story will continue to emerge and evolve.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Picture books, bedtime, fears
Divisions: School of Teacher Development
Depositing User: Mary-Louise Maynes
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2020 13:25
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2020 13:38

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