Welcome to my stop on the latest blog tour. This is for The Wardrobe Monster written and illustrated by Bryony Thomson and published by Old Barn Books.
In this beautifully illustrated and written picture book, we meet Dora who is scared to go to bed because of the thumping and banging she hears at night. But along with the help of her friends, her cuddly toys, she learns to be brave, face her fears and learn that actually there’s nothing to fear at all!
This is an age old tale of monsters in wardrobes and under the bed, but it’s a story always well worth telling because it’s a fear many children experience. We put children to bed, and suddenly an active house is quiet and dark, and this must be quite an unnerving thing for a young, active imagination. Standing up to our fears and the realisation that bravery is better than hiding away, is a great lesson to teach young children from an early age. Furthermore the story shows that facing our fears can actually lead to positive and unexpectedly happy outcomes filled with new opportunities for friendship and adventure. In The Wardrobe Monster Bryony has told the story with a gentle pace and humour which has a lovely comforting feel to it. It’s love to read out loud and can be really acted up, or read peacefully for a brilliant bedtime story.
The story may have a traditional feel to it, but the illustrations are far from usual. With a whimsical feel, they are vibrant and sketchy, creating beautiful characters which leap off the page and fill you with warmth and affection. Dora’s bright pink hair is gorgeous, and the way this pink has been carried across into the monster links the two together and shows how similar we can be to others even when it seems we are not on the surface of it. Bryony’s use of colour is absolutely wonderful, with pinks, blues and large expanse of black, but all coloured in a deliberately rough style means it’s not overwhelming and is bursting full of charm, I absolutely love them!
There are so many lessons and important messages within this story, making it brilliant for classroom discussion. But The Wardrobe Monster is just a delightful, bright and fun story which will make young children smile, and that’s what it’s all about really isn’t it?
Now I’d like to welcome the lovely Bryony Thomson onto the blog to tell us all about where she writes
‘Where I write’ blog
My day varies depending on what I’m working on (and how difficult I’m finding it!) but I usually start early, going down to my little basement studio with a cup of coffee. I’ll write myself a list for the day along with some rough goals for what I want to achieve by mid-morning, lunch time, mid-afternoon etc and then I’ll stick on an audiobook and get going with the first job.
I’ll stop for another coffee around 10.30 (you can start to see a theme here!) and then keep going until lunchtime. I find that both writing and illustrating can be quite intense and all consuming so it’s helpful to give myself structured breaks to get me out from behind the desk.
At lunchtime I will often try to get out of the house, I’ll head down to the swimming pool or go for a run, something to get me outside into the real world and give my brain a chance to work through anything I’ve been struggling with that morning. I often find that if I’m stuck on the structure of a story the solution will come to me when I’m away from my desk, distracted by something else rather than when I’m actively trying to solve the problem.
Much of my day is spent trying to distract myself in some way or other. I’m naturally a perfectionist which is particularly unhelpful when you are trying to write or create artwork; it can lead to a lot of fear about getting things right first time! I try to distract myself enough so that I forget about the need to get everything right and just concentrate on the physical act of writing or drawing.
In the afternoon I’ll carry on working until my husband gets home, usually around 7 or 8 o’clock. The second half of the day is fuelled by tea rather than coffee and I’ll often have some sport playing on my computer in the background – the Tour de France makes July a truly great working month for me!
My studio is where I do the majority of my work, unless I need to go elsewhere to do specific research. I love my little room as it is down it’s own flight of stairs and has doors out onto the garden. It is incredibly quiet and private and I can shut the door and really lose myself in what I’ m doing.
Working from home has so many positives and I am incredibly lucky to be able to do it, but it does come with the dangerous feeling that whenever you are at home you should be working. I try to be strict with myself and set ground rules to create some separation between work and life but I’ll admit that when a deadline is approaching all my best intentions go out the window. I’ll get obsessed with my work and hole up down in my studio, finally emerging at the end of the week with the realisation that I haven’t been out the house in four or five days…still I wouldn’t change it for the world!
Huge thanks to Bryony for that fascinating insite into her writing life! And what a fabulous studio!
If you’d like to find out more about Bryony Thomson then please visit her delectable corner of the internet here:
And to find out more about Old Barn Press please look at their book-lovely piece of the internet here:
Tomorrow, Wednesday 4th April, visit my brilliant blogging pal and all round children’s book guru Book Lover Jo‘s website, for more Monster fun!
Thank you for reading this very brave Book Monster review.