Book review: Raymund and the Fear Monster, by Megan Higginson
In recent years, Megan Higginson has garnered widespread respect as an author, illustrator, blogger and speaker. Her debut picture storybook, Raymund and the Fear Monster, is a beguiling tale that encourages readers to face their own fears in constructive ways.
Raymund is a young boy who lives in a small rural village. In a mountain near the village lives a monster who grows bigger and bigger the more that the villagers fear him. Raymund is held back by fear in many ways – it affects his willingness to join in all sorts of activities with the other kids in the village. The presence of the monster seems like a perfect storm for a child like Raymund, but when some other children in the village decide to take the monster on, Raymund wants in on the action. He soon realises that he is going to have to find ways to confront his own fears if he is to tame the rapidly-growing monster.
As well as being a beautifully told story, Raymund and the Fear Monster will be an invaluable discussion piece for parents and teachers in helping children deal with their own fears. Through her characters, Higginson explores the ways that fear can feed itself – but also acknowledges that fear can be healthy in small doses.
The story and its messages are complemented by Ester de Boer’s stunning illustrations, which approach an almost baroque level of detail. You could spend hours finding hidden creatures and quirks on each page, but to de Boer’s immense credit these details never detract from the story.
I really hope that Higginson and de Boer have many more collaborations in the pipeline.
Raymund and the Fear Monster
Blue Brumby Books
ISBN 978 0 6483 3811 6