A young boy tries to outwit the enigmatic tickle monster in Bartlett’s playful debut picture book.
Mother and Father sit on the sofa reading a newspaper. The headline on the front page reads: “Monster Loose.” The parents scoff at the idea of such a creature, but their son decides to prove to them and everyone else that the tickle monster lives. The resourceful young lad sets off around the house with his arms curved like horns in a bid to scare off his foe. The tickle monster follows him up the stairs and into bed. At night, it wants to be seen, banging drums and balancing cups, vying for the boy’s attention, but during the day, the monster disappears. The youngster searches the kitchen, the library, the sunroom, but the monster hides behind curtains, between books, under beds, waiting for that moment when it can spring out and catch its prey. Intricately detailed pen-and-ink illustrations on vellum—depicting everything from floral wallpaper to stuffed owls—accompany the text. Only the boy and the monster bring color into the rooms, allowing the eye to follow the hide-and-seek games they play with each other. The monster, with its pointed claws and bulbous body, would fit neatly into a family of Maurice Sendak’s “wild things,” but a small child might find the thought of a monster in their house frightening. At the back of this fun tale, the author includes a detailed list of all the little things from his childhood that inspired him to create the story, and he encourages readers to return to the tale and rediscover them.
Provides a unique twist on an age-old monster in a beautifully presented book; however, certain aspects might scare off young children.