Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The Ankle Grabber

When I was a child I loved being scared. I suppose it's a healthy part of growing up for most kids; the scary movie that you aren't supposed to watch, the fairground ride that takes you two hundred feet up into the air then drop you at speeds approaching Mach 3 back to the bottom again, the sleepover ghost stories...the list goes on. The thrill that children get from being scared is, for me, personified in this book which is one of my fondest memories of childhood.

The story itself is very simple yet terrifying; a young girl, alone in her bedroom, believes there is a monster under her bed called the Ankle Grabber; a small green creature that lives in a swamp and preys on careless children. If a child doesn't get into bed quickly enough or strays too near the edge of the bed in the night the Ankle Grabber will grab them and pull them into the depths of its swamp under the bed, never to be seen again.

The book is a fun, good natured scare for any child. The author cleverly manipulates long-held fears of generations of children; is there something living under their bed that will eat them if it gets the chance? The book has wonderful illustrations on every page which really help bring the story to life. I loved having it read to me as a child by my father. I think my father enjoyed reading it too, possibly because the dad in the story is the child's hero! (not to mention the satisfaction in scaring a naughty child who wont go to bed!)

I have a copy for my son when he is old enough so I'll be able to scare (sorry, thrill) him when its his bedtime. I highly recommend it and am really pleased to see its still being published today.

A story like this stays with you for life. It might even go some way to explaining why I still run and jump into bed at night...

What are your favourite childhood books?

Final verdict 4/5

By Chris


  1. I think most kids believe in some sort of Ankle Grabber - at least, I know I did. :)

  2. I agree Zara, I certaily had an 'ankle grabber' who lived in the toy cupboard - thankfully he only ever came out if the cupboard was left untidy or we didn't leave him toys to play with by not putting them back in the cupboard when we had finished playing.

    The Folk Of The Faraway Tree books had to be my childhood favourites. I also loved the first book I ever bought - The Pebbles Go To Town, I can't remember who wrote it but I loved that book.

  3. @ Zara: I agree, most children so believe in monsters which I think is a healthy part of growing up, in a way

    @ Petty: Thanks for your comment, I remember reading the Faraway Tree when I was a kid too, in fact I have copies of the series for my own child when he's old enough.

    According to Amazon.co.uk The Pebbles Go To Town was written by someone named Michael Cooper, ring any bells?


  4. My daughter who's nearly ten has recently been revisiting her favourite toddler books - we've been reading them at bedtime once again! Top of the list is The Gruffalo.

  5. @ Annabel: I'm impressed you've kept your ten year olds toddler books! If I did that we'd have no room! lol


  6. This looks like the cutest book; love kids books.