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What's under the Bed?
     

What's under the Bed?

by Joe Fenton
 

Fred doesn't want to go to sleep, he's worried about what is hiding underneath his bed. Is it big? Is it small? Is it skinny? is it tall? Hardly any text is needed to tell this adorable story because the accompanying illustrations are so lively and bold. And never fear, what is under the bed is as harmless as Ted, Fred's stuffed bear.

Overview

Fred doesn't want to go to sleep, he's worried about what is hiding underneath his bed. Is it big? Is it small? Is it skinny? is it tall? Hardly any text is needed to tell this adorable story because the accompanying illustrations are so lively and bold. And never fear, what is under the bed is as harmless as Ted, Fred's stuffed bear.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Fenton channels the dark humor of Edgar and Ellen and other creepsters in his first picture book. Putting himself to bed, Fred cannot stop worrying about creatures that might be lurking beneath it. Employing a very simple AB rhyme scheme, the book is a litany of Fred's fears. "Is it tall? Or rather small?" Fred, his haplessness signaled by the oversize glasses he wears even to sleep, finally summons the courage to peer under the bed and, predictably, finds his teddy bear, Ted. The ending suggests that Fred will spend the night awake anyway. "What's that noise? What's that sound?/ Is there something on the ground?" Although the text feels obvious, the cartoon art-shaded b&w drawings, with one additional spot of color per spread-is highly effective as it mimics the odd, shadowy perspectives and strange angles a child sees when peering around a dark room. White googly-eyes pop from the pages, and the hairy hungry creatures Fred imagines are at once scary and, for the stouthearted, humorous. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)

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Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Fenton plays with rhymes in this story about young Fred. Once sent to bed, Fred hears a noise, and he fearfully begins to imagine what might be under his bed. He speculates on whether it could be green, or red, or with a big head; if it is tall or small. His imagination produces ever more frightening possibilities. "Oh, I hope it's been fed!" he gasps. When he finally gathers the courage to look, he finds only his teddy bear. But we leave him hearing another noise, as his worries begin again. The very few words in large type seem to have a life of their own, although they are surely no match for the increasingly convoluted illustrations involving us in Fred's aggressive imaginary world. Fred wears oversized glasses and an anxious expression on his large head. His bed has a fanciful tubular metal frame that is interestingly incorporated into the designs of the nighttime creatures. The scenes in mixed media are chiefly black, as befits the nighttime, with only touches of color and contrasting white. One particularly ugly creature touched in red has a single glaring eye, a quartet of nasty, stabbing tusks, and twisting octopus-like tentacles. But there are cute, insect-like things and lots of flowers too, so it's hard to be too frightened. This could be a humorous aid for coaxing the reluctant to bed, although the final illustration may raise apprehension anew. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

K-Gr 2

Fred is a reluctant sleeper who prefers playing with his teddy bear to putting his head to the pillow. Once he's under the covers, his imagination runs wild and he frets, "Could there be something under my bed?" Readers paying close attention to detail will notice his teddy falling to the floor. As Fred's worries take shape, he wonders, "Is it fat? Or is it thin?/Does it have a very big grin?/Does it have long nails?/Could it have two tails?" The pithy rhyming verse is complemented by atmospheric black-and-white mixed-media illustrations. The boy has a small body topped by a large round head, and pinpoint eyes and comma-shaped eyebrows peer through oversize glasses that obscure most of his face, giving him a deer-in-the-headlights look that accentuates his emotions. Splashes of red highlight the hairy fantasy creature that grows in proportion to his anxiety. Summoning his inner strength, the youngster finally looks under the bed, finding that "Hey, it's only Ted!" His relief is short-lived as he continues to speculate: "What's that noise? What's that sound?/Is there something on the ground?" With its up-in-the-air ending and shiver-inducing illustrations, this book probably won't totally alleviate monster fears, but it will be enjoyed by fans of spooky tales.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada

Kirkus Reviews
It's nighttime, and Fred hears a noise. As his imagination takes hold, the bespectacled little boy begins to fret over what might be lurking under his bed. Fenton uses this familiar theme to present beginning readers with colors and opposites, and peppers his rhyming text with words they will recognize and know. Fred wonders, "Could it be green? / Or maybe it's red?... / Is it fat? / Or is it thin?" Black and white effectively convey the darkness of night, but at times the minimal use of color is not effectively used as a narrative tool; too, the preponderance of rounded shapes could confuse the reader's focus. The circular nature of his artwork does reflect the story line, as the end returns to the beginning. After Fred finally conjures up the courage to look down to find that it's "only Ted," he falls fast asleep on the floor, while a scared monster is left in bed to wonder, "What's that noise? What's that sound? / Is there something on the ground?" (Picture book. 3-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416949435
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
09/02/2008
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Joe Fenton has worked for several years in the film industry for Disney and other studios as a concept artist. He is from London, England, but currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. This is his first picture book.

Joe Fenton has worked for several years in the film industry for Disney and other studios as a concept artist. He is from London, England, but currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. This is his first picture book.

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