A child’s active imagination can be a double-edged sword since that’s how many common childhood fears are founded. And, unfortunately, once certain fears take hold, it can be hard for the child to overcome them. Thus, books like this can help by using humour and positive imagination to vicariously inspire kids to conquer their own fears.
Despite the title being in the present tense, There’s an Alligator under My Bed starts off with the young protagonist declaring matter-of-factly that “There used to be an alligator under my bed”, which immediately turns the typical childhood-fear story on its head, since all the ‘action’ is told in retrospect, and we know from the start that the boy had already somehow vanquished the threat.
As he proudly regales us with the story, we see that instead of waiting for someone else to solve the problem or remaining paralysed by fear, the spunky boy had bravely taken matters into his own hands and successfully carried out a plan to get the alligator out of his room.
I particularly enjoyed the boy’s narrative, which hilariously captures the way a child would think and act. I also liked that the plan he devised was creative yet not too elaborate, and imaginable for children to carry out in real life, since this makes the story believable and relatable to them. The somewhat old-fashioned illustrations are also great, and the look of pure victorious glee on the boy’s face towards the end of the book is just priceless.