This slender, rhyming, picture book offers a bedtime story that addresses children’s perennial fear of the dark and of monsters in their bedrooms at night.
Nighttime Fantasy has a familiar plot. A young boy’s imagination goes wild as soon as his mother turns off the light and leaves the room. He pictures monsters large and small wandering around his room and on the walls and ceilings. The frightened boy wonders, “What do they want, and who could they be?/ This question nocturnally bothers me!” Escaping his room, the boy crawls onto his mother’s bed, where a kiss and a hug make him feel safe.
The opening line of the story, “When I lay me down to sleep,/ Monsters in my room do creep,” immediately draws in readers because of its similarity to the well-known children’s nighttime prayer. The rhyming text flows perfectly, with a soothing, natural beat, and each double-page spread has only one or two lines, keeping the pages uncluttered for young audiences. As the story is resolved by the boy climbing onto his mother’s bed, it ends humorously with the boy pondering, “As I lay next to my mommy so dear,/ I wonder why monsters don’t visit in here.”
Anxieties about monsters in the dark are a problem universally faced by parents and children, so stories to help quell these fears are popular. However, the resolution in this story is age-old and unsurprising. And while the pictures of the mother and son on the left-hand pages are colorful and engaging, an illustration of the monsters is repeated on every right-hand page, missing an opportunity for further engagement and intrigue.
In a world where bedtime monster stories abound, a book must be unique to stand out. Unfortunately, while clever, this book doesn’t offer anything new. Even so, it’s well-executed, with sly humor and makes for a solid read-aloud experience for parents getting ready to say good-night to their little ones.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.