Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Mr Underbed

Mr Underbed

Chris Riddell
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Andersen Press UK, 2010   ISBN: 978-1842708217

One night Jim is just starting to fall asleep when something under his bed starts moving around. Then a big furry blue faced monster peeks out and announces that he is Mr. Underbed. Though he is definitely a monster, Mr. Underbed is not at all frightening. In fact, he is very polite. He explains that sleeping on the floor under Jim’s bed is “very uncomfortable,” and he asks if he can share Jim’s bed.

   Though there is enough room for Jim and Mr. Underbed in the bed, Jim cannot fall asleep. It turns out that Mr. Underbed snores when he sleeps. When Jim goes to get a pair of ear muffs out of a chest of drawers, two little yellow monsters, the twins Crinkle and Crumple, pop up out of one of the drawers. Apparently the drawer is “very cramped,” and before Jim can say or do anything they have hopped into bed with Mr. Underbed. When poor Jim joins the monsters in his bed he discovers that the twins have stolen the bed covers. Now Jim is cold. Perhaps if he puts on his dressing gown he will feel warmer. Unfortunately,  it turns out that Jim’s closet is also inhabited by someone who wants a warm cozy bed to sleep in.

   This delightful picture book would make a great bedtime story, especially for children who are afraid of the monsters who like to live under beds and in closets. Children will see that monsters are actually rather sweet creatures, and certainly the monsters (and animals) in this story are cuddly and charming. One cannot help feeling sorry for Jim. After all, all the poor boy wants is to go to sleep in his own bed.