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1.0 out of 5 stars
A Picturebook Like Someone Trying Not to Write a Picturebook, 10 Nov. 2005
This book opens with a spooky drawing of an old house in the night-time in the middle of nowhere. The picture somehow conveys suffocating, scary silence. Tatjana must be an amazing illustrator because her pictures really did creep me out a bit. She puts so much details into the pictures, making the simply innocent everyday objects like a coat hung up, mum's dress hooked on the wardrobe, very sinister. While talking of sinister things, the boy in the story has a teddy-bear who seems to be alive (as does his brother's clown, watch how he moves from his brother's bedside to sitting on the headboard looking at him sleep). The boy's teddy strangely stands up on his own, and in another picture the boy is seen standing outside his house looking round one way while the teddy is on the other side of the house looking the other way. Reminiscences of Chucky?!
The essence of the story is that a boy wakes up in the middle of the night and hears a strange noise. He believes this noise could be all sorts of things but finally comes to the conclusion that it is a monster. The description of the monster is brilliant! However, the kid then wakes up his dad who tries to speak some reassurance (hardly reassuring for the reader when they can't see the father and doubt whether he really exists) by telling his son that the noise is 'just a mouse crawling between the walls', but here the illustration seems to come away from the story because the mouse is not between the walls but between the wall and the wallpaper. The kid just sees a huge unlikely bulge in the wallpaper. At the end of the book the kid is still scared because he doesn't know what a mouse is, he thinks it is just another grown-up euphimism for 'monster'.
Although the content of this book must be aimed at older readers (at our library I notice we have categorised it for older readers as well) it is just too much to believe a child doesn't know what a mouse is in our time and I don't think this book will be popular with older readers. I definitely wouldn't read it to young children unless you are sure they can handle the imagery.