|Little Monster Background Information
"Later, we helped Dad. But Little Monster had a little accident and the nappies smelt really, really bad.
SQUIRT! So we left."
My sister is just eighteen months younger than me so I don't remember how it was before she was born. It must be different if you're four years old when your baby brother or sister arrives I wanted to do a book about how that might feel, and I wanted it to be funny.
In 'Little Monster did it' It isn't Amy who hates her new baby brother, it's her new friend Little Monster.
Is Little Monster a large stuffed toy or a real monster?
Older people will mostly decide he is a toy that Amy uses to blame for her jealous behaviour. But if you look closely at the pictures you might decide that Little Monster is naughty of his own accord. He may or may not be a
real Monster.... But jealousy certainly is, and that's what this book is about.
Once I've decided on the first line of a text the rest usually follows quickly.
But 'Little Monster Did It' was harder. It needed to be written in Amy's voice. I took two weeks to complete it. The longest I've ever spent.
The illustrations were tricky too and they took about a year. I had to avoid too many pictures of cross parents and miserable children. Not very encouraging for someone facing the arrival of a new baby sister or brother. Instead I took care to make the parents look flustered or tired. They rarely lose their temper in spite of Monster's constant mischief. Amy hides her feelings much of the time, except when she's laughing with Little Monster. He of course, makes no secret of what he is thinking.
I used less obvious ways of showing Amy's emotions. Angular shaped drawings appear whenever feelings are running high. Then there's the character who doesn't even get a mention in the text. The blue elephant. Amy's favourite toy before Little Monster arrives. You'll find him throughout the story looking very unhappy. Also spot the dummy (pacifier) wall paper and the photo of Amy and her parents before the baby (and Monster) arrive on the scene.
The story takes place over a period of about six months, so one of my trickiest tasks was to draw the baby getting older. He still had to look like the same Baby at the end of the book. The family tuft of hair, (even Monster has one), was very useful here. It grows as time passes. So does the babies first tooth. And in one series of pictures you can tell what time of year it is from the Baby's baby-gro's. He's not as innocent as he looks either. Babies can be jealous too. Take a look at that last picture.
I had never drawn a Baby before and I was dreading it but in the end I loved it. In fact, it was so much fun that I thought I might put a baby in my next book.... And I did. (The Baby Who Wouldn't Go to Bed)