Coulrophobia! It’s real.

p. 101 “‘Oh, be quiet, Emily,’ said Snowflake. ‘Simple Simon gives me the willies.  I’ll not be able to sleep tonight now that you’ve put the thought in my head.'”

I don’t what has gotten into me, but I am feeling rather befuddled by the books I have been reading recently.  Could it be that it is finally 50 degrees today, instead of 7 degrees?  It must be the weather.

While I am not sure how my young students will feel about this new novel, I will state here that it gives me the creeps. While imaginary friends are all well and good, Mr. Bunting and his sidekick definitely are not.  I am reminded of clowns.  I have coulrophobia.  They are not what they seem: they are funny, silly, and wear bright, happy colors to make people laugh. Yet, underneath they are morose, depressed, and cowardly.  It is this dishonesty that gives me the willies.  “People are typically frightened by things which are wrong in some way, wrong in a disturbingly unfamiliar way…” (Lewis).

Throughout this entire children’s book, this predatory fear lurks in the background until it appears with a nasty vengeance.  And here, when the reader finally meets the “real” Mr. Bunting – not in his brilliant primary colored clothing – he is vile.  He is also a character derivative of both the Death Eaters and the Nagani from Harry Potter stories, except in Harry Potter stories their evil qualities are not hidden; you know who and what you are facing.

Honestly, I will never think of an imaginary friend again without a phobic reference to the fiendish Mr. Bunting.  Shhh!  Don’t tell Pru.

Harrold, A.F., and Emily Gravett, illus. The Imaginary.  New York: Bloomsbury, 2014. Print.

Lewis, Jordan Gaines. “Why Are Clowns Scary?” Brain Babble. Psychology Today, 30 Oct. 2012. Web. 8 Mar. 2015. .


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