While seeing your story on screen can be exciting for many authors, when it comes as a shock and hasn’t been attributed to you, well, things can get confusing and awkward.
This is the latest ordeal for legendary children’s author and illustrator Chris Riddell who has accused department store company John Lewis of plagiarizing a character from his 1986 picture book Mr Underbed in a recently released Christmas advertisement.
The character in question is a big blue monster who lives (and sleeps) underneath a child’s bed and keeps the child awake because of his boisterous snores.
The advertisement, as Chris Riddell compares in his following tweet, showcases a similar monster, Moz the monster, who shares uncanny similarities to Riddell’s character.
John Lewis helps themselves to my picture book. https://t.co/mrVHmalTwh
— chris riddell (@chrisriddell50) November 16, 2017
“I was struck by the similarity of the concept when I watched the ad, and subsequently a number of people have tweeted and emailed me pointing this out,” Riddell said. “So I decided to do a Facebook post, tongue in cheek, about John Lewis promoting Mr Underbed.”
John Lewis responded to the growing attention, denying that the character was based off Riddell’s story.
“The story of a big hairy monster under the bed which keeps a child from sleeping is a universal tale which has been told many times over many years,” a John Lewis spokeswoman said.
Via John Lewis
“Ours is a Christmas story of friendship and fun between Joe and Moz The Monster, in which Joe receives a night light which helps him get a good night’s sleep. The main thrust of our story is utterly different to Chris Riddell’s.”
John Lewis released the advertisement last week and, given that the ad cost a staggering $9 million, we’re surprised the idea isn’t a little more original.
While it is certainly cute, it does share parallels with Riddell’s character. Then again, perception is subjective. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.
Featured image via Amazon/The Telegraph