The stuff of our nightmares are rarely under the bed or in the wardrobe (unless you are a fashion stylist perusing inside my wardrobe), they are out there in our everyday world. As a child these demons surfaced in the form of the school bully, a vindictive teacher or the embodiment of all evil, Brussels sprouts. Sorry Brussels sprout lovers.
It's something to bear in mind when breathing life into monsters for children's books. Do you want them to represent these fears? Oftentimes humans can quite happily fulfill this role anyway. Additionally, fear of creatures other than ourselves isn't really the noblest of objectives when comes to wonderful world of children's literature.
We also need to avoid creating actual nightmares for our more sensitive readership. A bad actor in an laughably unconvincing rubber creature costume on Doctor Who could scare the proverbials out of me when I was five years old. We certainly don't want to cause sleepless nights.
Thankfully, our technique of constructing our creatures out of constituent parts has allowed us to mix and match to find the perfect look for everything from enormous rabid blood-sucking bats to giant screaming snakes.
Sweet dreams, everyone.