Think back to your childhood. What story or movie gave you nightmares?
For me it was Bambi, and specifically the mother's death in a fire.
Sometimes adults don't realize the monsters that a child's relaxed brains can conjure from stories or movies once they go to sleep. I'd be willing to bet that many (if not most) of us had some nightmare or bad (scary) dream as a child after a particular book or movie.
I know I suffered from nightmares of fires for a month or so after I watched Bambi. As did my mother, since I woke her night after night screaming & crying. Our subconscious is a lot less inhibited by wanting to appear brave, pleasing a family member, or having the privilege of staying up. It is willing to admit that we were terrified that the same thing(s) could happen to us. And it often seems intent on exploring those fears, over and over again.
I wish this book had existed then. It would have given my younger, very imaginative, self so much more agency than a hug, a back pat, and an assurance that everything was just fine. I hope this book finds itself into the hands of every child (whatever the age) who struggles with fears and nightmares.
Pippa's Night Parade
Author: Lisa Robinson
Illustrator: Lucy Fleming
Publisher: Two Lions (2019)
Conquering fears, imagination, bedtime, and storybook monsters.
Pippa’s wonderfully wild imagination is perfect for dreaming up wildly adorable creations. But at night, her imagination runs a little too wild. That’s when the villains and monsters and beasts sneak out of her storybooks to scare her. Pippa tries everything: from night-lights to triple knots to clever disguises. But when the baddies keep coming, she realizes she’ll need to come up with something new. To prepare for this battle, Pippa will have to use everything she’s got—especially that wild imagination. Ready or not, here she comes!
Pippa has a wonderfully wild imagination, but sometimes it runs a little TOO wild.
That’s when Pippa gets worried
Why I liked the book:
Although Pippa has a strong, brave personality, she also has a vivid imagination. Lucy Fleming did such a great job in the illustrations of showing the monsters and beasts lurking outside and then actually emerging from the stories. The bright colors and slightly humorous aspects (quilt patches on the dragon's wings and catching a ghost in a bottle), combined with Pippa's adorable, furry white sidekick, keep the story from being too scary.
Each night, dragons, shadows, pirates, witches, and bears emerge from her stories and send her scurrying to her parent's room. Only to be taken back to her own room where the terrible villains lurked; undeterred by Pippa's extra nightlights, tied books, or wolf disguise.
So, Pippa goes bigger. Fashioning a plan to get rid of the monsters, she sticks invitations to a scary night parade into all her books. That night she and her kitty lasso the Loch Ness Monster, put an eye patch on a Cyclops, and top a serpent with a sun hat. But they are no match for the number of "BEASTS and BRUTES and BADDIES" which emerge from her books.
Ultimately she uses her love of costumes and clothing to create ridiculous costumes to achieve a fun solution to her problem. Reminding me of the way to beat a Boggart. Though the ending here is much more fun for all involved. I like that Pippa doesn't just hide and cower for the night. After each failure to solve her villain problem, Pippa "plots and plans." Until she realizes that if you can't beat them, get them to join you in the fun.
This book provides a great example of concise text leaving lots of room for the illustrator to create visual magic in the story. Kids will love tracking the adventures and antics of Pippa's cat throughout the illustrations. Overall, I think this is a fun, imaginative book sure to help kids think of ways to "outsmart" or lessen their monsters or nighttime fears.
- make a list or draw a picture of all the fun or funny things you could do with monsters that might appear in your room at night;
- find a special nightlight (a constellation or superhero one, perhaps) or make your own (https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/47648/halloween-night-light-kids-can-make/);
- talk about your fears during the daytime and brainstorm ways to make them less scary; or
- try deep breathing and relaxation exercises.
If you missed Lisa Robinson's interview on Monday, find it (here).
This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.