Sunday, September 14, 2008

Monsters Under the Bed

Monsters Under the Bed: Don’t Bother to Look for the Logic
by Holly Jahangiri, author of Trockle

It’s pointless to argue with a child who believes there are monsters under the bed. Parents who try to apply rational logic to an irrational fear are setting themselves up for frustration and sleepless nights.

Imagination and fear make powerful allies. It’s dark at night. Suddenly, the child is deprived of sight – a whole sense gone in the flick of a light switch. And mom or dad insists that darkness is a good thing – you need darkness to sleep. (In fact, we all know that it’s just because Dad doesn’t really own stock in the electric company, and we don’t need light to see when our eyes are closed. Already, the parents’ credibility is going down the drain with the sewer monsters.) The house creaks. Grandpa snores. The water heater gurgles. The faucet drips. The refrigerator downstairs crackles and growls as it goes into the defrost cycle. A branch taps against the glass on the other side of the curtains. Children are smart, but their imaginations know no bounds; it’s just unthinkable to them that the adults they trust can’t see the monsters that lurk beneath the bed, in the closet, down in the basement, or up in the attic. Don’t they know that the darkness draws them out of their cool, dark hidey holes? Surely they’re not in league with the monsters…
Apply all the logic you like; it’s just not going to convince anyone under the age of ten. I suspect it won’t convince anyone over the age of ten, either, but middle schoolers are too cool to admit to having irrational fears or believing in monsters. Authors like R.L. Stine and Stephen King know better. We never outgrow our monsters – not really. Mine masquerade as spiders and hypodermic needles.

But we can make peace with them.

We can try to be equally irrational and spray the room with Monster Repellent (Febreeze makes a good one with a nice fresh scent that also helps to eliminate funky tennis shoe odor) or we can go with the flow and offer up the monster’s side of the story.

That’s what I did with Trockle. Of course, my sole intent, at the time, was to see to it that a sleepless night with the ceiling light on was at least not wasted time. William could practice reading. I started out writing the story of a little boy named Stephen who didn’t want to go to bed because he was afraid of monsters. Suddenly the little monster under the bed piped up and insisted I tell his story, too! He told me that his name was Trockle. He liked Choco-Tacos. (My son and I were standing in Ace Hardware one day after Trockle was published, and he was looking for an ice cream treat in their freezer. “Mom, they have Choco-Tacos!” Imagine my surprise – I didn’t know there was such a thing! William and I had to try them, of course. Thanks, Trockle – they’re pretty tasty!) Trockle showed me what it was like for him, under the bed. He didn’t want to go to sleep, either. I smiled as I watched his mother tuck him in. She gently reassured Trockle that Stephen – the great big, scary boy over the bed – wasn’t so terribly different from him. Once you got past the rather startling differences in their appearances, they had more in common than they realized. Trockle thought it was just hilarious that Stephen was afraid of him.
See? Grown-ups aren’t stupid. We know all about the little monsters under – and over – the bed. And we love them, icky sticky hands and all.

Don't forget - leave comments or questions (and don't forget the email addy) for Ms. Holly or Ms. Jordan and your name will go in a drawing to win a Trockle tote bag.

Trockle is available at 4RV's site,, and bookstores everywhere.

Next stop is Ms. Aidana's Cover Chat blog tomorrow. Hope to see you all in the postings and following the tour. - Ms. E :)


Vivian Zabel said...

Holly does such a good job of making monsters perfectly logically, in her article and in her story.

Everyone can enjoy the story of Stephen and Trockle.

elysabeth said...

I thought it was a great article on how Trockle came about. See you all in the postings - E :)

Artistjv said...

Goodmorning! Second day of the blog tour. I'm thrilled. I hope everyone gets a chance to read Holly's article. I might be an artist, but she certainly does have a way of painting with her words.

elysabeth said...

Hey Jordan,

Glad you could stop by this morning. Hope everyone stops by and leaves lots of comments. I'm looking forward to more from both you and Holly. E :)

Crystalee said...

Holly, I must say I'm glad Trockle introduced you to the yumminess that is the Choco-Taco. ;-)

Enjoyed these articles, and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the week.


elysabeth said...


Thanks for stopping by. Holly is without power right now (due to Ike) but I'm sure she will be in contact with Vivian or vice versa throughout the day and whole virtual tour. Comments will be posted as Vivian gets them. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Just think when you get Angeline Jellybean done how much fun it will be to get her on tour - lol - good luck in the drawing - E :)

Rena said...

I am seriously craving a Choco-Taco now -- bigtime! I haven't had one of those in years. LOL!

Great article -- :)

elysabeth said...

LOL - Rena, you are too funny. I can't have them because of the nuts. For those of you who have never seen or heard of a Choco-Taco, they are like the ice cream drumsticks (cone, vanilla ice cream, with chocolate and nuts) made in a taco shape. When I could eat them, I loved them but since developing my allergy to nuts and having severe reactions, I have not been able to enjoy them of late.

They are definitely delicious.

Thanks for stopping by, Rena. See you in the postings - E :)

Vivian Zabel said...

Holly really had no idea that anything called Choco-Taco existed when she wrote the story, which makes it very interesting. Guess she's had a deprived life. *laugh*

She certainly feels deprived now that she can't participate in the blog tour directly.

Vonda Skelton said...

Trockle sounds like quite a character! I'll look forward to hearing more!

elysabeth said...


Thanks for stopping by and I might bring a copy with me this weekend to show you when I see you. I'll have some of the tote bags available for sale (I was told I couldn't sell other authors' books from 4RV but I could sell other things related to 4RV Publishing or have other items in my booth) including the Trockle ones.

Looking forward to seeing you this coming weekend as well as several other authors I know. Good luck in the drawing. E :)

Cheryl said...

Great article! I'm in the midst of dealing with my second child who has sleeping issues because of fears. The first was afraid of shadows caused by her nightlights and this one is petrified of the windows.

I can attest to what Holly says about trying to use logic with your child. It just doesn't work. Sometimes the silly stuff works for us and sometimes it doesn't, but these adventures make for awesome stories.

Best of luck with your tour and your book!


Chris Redding said...

How amusing and so true having had one of my two sons afraid of everything.

elysabeth said...


You definitely need to get a copy of Trockle then and either have your girls read it or you read to them and see if it might help quelch their fears a bit. It is definitely a book worth sharing with all kids who have nighttime fears. If you check Vivian's blog from this past week, you will see more pictures of Trockle and Trockle's mother as well as "Stephen" who is based on Holly's son, William. (For pictures of cover, Trockle, Trockle's mother and a sketch from a photo of William (Stephen in the book), go to - thanks for stopping by and commenting, Cheryl. Good luck with getting your girls over their fears. E :)

elysabeth said...


Hopefully he has out grown his fears but it is never too late to read a copy of Trockle and see that we really don't have much to fear. I love the cover - with the back cover showing the tail and backside of Trockle and Stephen under and on the bed. It is a very fun book. Thanks for stopping by and hopefully the fears are lessened as we get older. - E :)

Deborah said...

Trockle is a sweet story of the fears of all kids. I loved the way Holly handled this story.

Aidana WilowRaven said...

I love the article and just know I need the book. My son LOVES monsters, but he has also just recently started needing the nightlight again (since the move) and wanting Mommy to check on him (three times - why three I don't know) at bed time.

I think this book will help him to adjust to his re-found fears of the dark and all the noises he hears in it.


zhadi said...

Holly, you've no doubt given new generations of kids the key to sleeping so much better... I wish I'd had the monster under the bed's side of the story when I was a kid!

Joyce Anthony said...

I love learning how a story came about!!! I remember well the days of "monster stay-away" spray :-) I wish Trockle had appeared back then!!!

Vivian Zabel said...

We're so glad people are wanting to get to know Trockle and Stephen better.

Maybe a few people can leave some comments on the entry just below this one, the article by Jordan who illustrated the book.

Let's see if I can get some illustrations to Elysabeth to use.

Vivian Zabel said...

Holly will back at work for HP tomorrow. She'll have Interest access, so she can get a taste to calm her withdrawal symptoms.

Bet we'll hear from her tomorrow, at least a short message.

Tristi Pinkston said...

The name "Trockle" is so unique. Any idea where it came from or why he chose it for himself?

Vivian Zabel said...

This question is one Holly will have to answer, and hopefully she will be able to soon.

Good question, Tristi.

elysabeth said...


Thanks for stopping by and maybe Holly via Vivian can give you an answer to your question. It is very unique and I'm sure there is a good explanation for it.

I would also like to thank everyone who has stopped by so far today for helping me get up to 1000 hits today. That is a major milestone for the JGDS blog. I've had the site up and running about 7-1/2 months, so definitely a milestone - doing the happy dance here. All the comments and those leaving them have been great so far. I can only hope to have half as many hits as Vivian (she had 158 yesterday and 30 comments; and I've hit the better than half way mark - 78 today so far and the night is still young). So many thanks to all of you have helped get me up and over that little hump.

Keep the comments coming - E :)

Vivian Zabel said...

Holly says, "The monster told me himself. He didn't give me any other information, just that was his name."

Dana said...

The articles are beautifully written. It is so wonderful to learn about both of you.

elysabeth said...

Thanks, Dana. It's always nice to learn about the authors and illustrators and how they got from the original point to the end point. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will follow the tour the rest of this week to see what interesting and fun stuff is coming up - E :)

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