Matte black pages with blocks of solid geometric color and a white sans-serif type illustrate a small child’s dialogue with an imaginary monster in the darkness before sleep.
The tickle monster has yellow horns, green hands and feet, and a blocky orange-and-blue body. The child bravely asserts, “You don’t scare me!” Tickling the monster’s body parts one by one makes them fall away. After the feet are tickled, it cannot catch the narrator; after its teeth are tickled, it cannot bite; after its tummy is tickled, it cannot swallow. As it falls into its component parts, it becomes clearer that the tickle monster’s parts are made of toys that sit in the darkness of the room: an orange car; a little house. At last the child declares, “Phew! I can finally go to sleep”—with the awareness that if the monster returns, it can be tickled to pieces once again. The whole is quite elegant in the execution of its dramatic design and the demonstration of how the child copes with fear independently, without calling on a parent. The book is a French import; the original title is Gros Cornichon, in which “cornichon” means not only “pickle” but also something like “twitbrain.”
Bonne nuit, chérie. (Picture book. 4-7)