September 22, 2017

Welcome to Under-the-Bed Fred!

Welcome to Under-the-Bed Fred — a new chapter book for the early grades!

From the moment I started to write this book, I felt that I knew Fred well. Why? Because the story is so firmly rooted in my own childhood fears of that "thing" that hides under beds, peeks out of closets, and lurks behind furnaces in the basement. For me, the "thing" was a shape-shifter, but it usually manifested as some kind of wild animal — lion, tiger, wolf. If pressed to explain how such a creature could have ended up under my bed, I would have had a ready answer. The Winnipeg Zoo. Obviously! I had been there. I had seen the animals. Clearly, this one must have escaped, stealthily finding its way to my house and sneaking in through the old coal chute.

Well, that was then. And now, after all these years . . . here's Fred, turning up in a book! He's the "thing" that hides under Leo's bed. And Leo, like me all those years ago, is obliged to leap from his bedroom door into bed to avoid getting his ankles grabbed. He doesn't dare dangle an arm over the side of his bed. Nor can he get up to pee at night.

But unlike the youthful Linda, Leo tackles his problem head-on. "Hey, you!" he eventually says to the monster. And so the conversation starts . . . and with it, one of those symbiotic odd-couple relationships that are such fun to write. Leo has things to teach Fred. Fred has things to teach Leo.

It's about friendship. The first in a series.

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