When I picked up There Are Monsters Everywhere by Mercer Mayer at a book store this weekend I thought to myself, why do these illustrations look so familiar. The book, displayed as a choice selection often reserved for new books, had an older feeling to the illustrations. The colors had a slight murky feeling, like there was something lurking. The attention to detail stuck me as impressive, whether it was the boy's untied shoes or the clutter of his room it all felt real. Mercer Mayer, as it turns out, is the authors of the 'Little Critter' series and while this book was published in 2005 he does come from that older generation of authors and illustrators where the psychological messages are embedded in the story and the images.
The boy is afraid of monsters and through out the book takes it upon himself to study karate and become so empowered that he is no longer afraid. The monsters go from crowding he space with glaring eyes to sucking their thumbs and running away.
Mercer Mayer's first book was published in 1967 and now 2005 he has published over 300 books. Like Sendak or Emberly he shows no sign of stopping. While some have argued that creating children's books is a hard business to get into I am starting to realize that once you get in you also never leave.