Phoebe’s in bed but needs to go to the toilet. There’s only one problem – there’s a wolf under her bed. Her mum tells her to take the wolf with her and off they go to the toilet. Along the way she meets a cast of interesting characters, including a stinky troll, a scary shark, and a giant, who all follow her to the bathroom. Are all these monsters following her or is it just her imagination?
Phoebe and the Night Creatures is one of those picture books where the words and the pictures are a perfect match. Jenny Hessell’s story is full of the monsters that children create in their imagination and they are brought to life with Donovan Bixley’s stunning illustrations. Jenny has created Phoebe, a girl who isn’t afraid of trolls or ghosts and Donovan has portrayed this courage in his illustrations, particularly on the cover of the book. Donovan Bixley is my favourite New Zealand illustrator, because of the way he uses light and colour, making his illustrations glow on the page. This book has really allowed him to have some fun and use his imagination to create these night creatures. Another aspect of the book I really enjoyed was the design, which is also done by Donovan. The layout of the words adds extra enjoyment to the story, with some words looking spooky or stinky. Phoebe and the Night Creatures is probably not a book to read before bed, but one to share with those children who aren’t scared easily and are fascinated with monsters.