When Size Matters

h1 August 19th, 2010 by jules


“As time went by, the little creatures learned to hide from the Big Scary Monster.
He soon got bored because he couldn’t find anyone to scare.”

(Click to enlarge spread.)

Since, after Tuesday’s post, I’ve still got monsters on the brain, let’s check in quickly with another monster title this morning. This one comes from British author/illustrator Thomas Docherty, who was once shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Originally published in 2009, Big Scary Monster was released in the U.S. in July by Templar Books, an imprint of Candlewick.

This is the story of Big Scary Monster, who lives on top of a mountain, “not very far from here,” and he knows, thank you very much, that he’s the biggest and scariest creature around. He loves to scare the bejeebus out of the other creatures that live on the mountain. Eventually, he gets bored, since the other creatures just hide from him. After devising a plan to harass the animals down in the valley, he discovers that they’re really quite large and scary, even though they look small from the mountain’s peak: “The Big Scary Monster had never felt so small and scared in his life. I wish I was back on the top of the mountain with the little creatures and the small rocks and small plants, thought the Big Scary Monster.” The ending, which the Publishers Weekly review notes is Grinch-esque in the way of the monster’s redemption, is a happy one.

What I love, in particular, are Docherty’s watercolors. They brought to my mind the same thing as they did the PW reviewer: Old-skool animation. Think Looney Tunes. Chuck Jones. Move over, John Manders. (Or, uh, don’t move over. I love your art work. There’s a place for both of you!) “Docherty’s polished landscapes also recall classic animation, with solid shadows and artful play with perspective,” the reviewer wrote, noting that the Big Scary Monster resembles this orange guy:

That’s Gossamer, who, incidentally, appears in my VERY favorite Looney Tunes episode ever, in which Bugs Bunny gets all hopped up on ether. Maybe that’s one reason I was enchanted by the Big Scary Monster.

Don’t miss Docherty’s site for a list of his other children’s titles, as you can click on each title to see spreads from within, including more from Big Scary Monster.

Here’s another spread. Enjoy!


“One day, as he stood at the top of the mountain and looked down into the valley,
he saw many other creatures playing happily in the valley below.
I’ll go down there and scare them, he said to himself.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

* * * * * * *

BIG SCARY MONSTER. Copyright © 2009 Thomas Docherty. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.





One comment to “When Size Matters”

  1. Whoa, cool…love that last spread.


Leave a Comment