A Fun-Filled Story Packed with Surprises
By Wu Jia-Lian ∥ Translated by Sarah-Jayne Carver
Dec 27, 2022

What’s in your fridge? By phrasing the title as a question, Who’s in the Fridge? tells the reader right from the get-go that there isn’t just food in this refrigerator! Who could possibly be hiding in there? Readers who have picked up the book are probably just as confused as the little boy on the cover. However, as soon as they turn the page, the midnight adventure of opening the fridge starts to unfold!


A Story Written from a Child’s Perspective

The earliest version of the story for Who’s in the Fridge? started to take shape around the time that author-illustrator Severus Lian was in high school, but the concept was based on her real childhood experience of sneaking to the fridge in the middle of the night. Could she make it to the fridge without being discovered? Who would she meet along the way? And what magical creatures would be waiting for her in the fridge? Who’s in the Fridge? combines the thrill of not knowing if you’ll be discovered and the anticipation of not knowing what’s waiting for you in the fridge, which creates a story that the reader can participate in wholeheartedly from start to finish.

Lian has always loved to draw and was inspired to study illustration by Gaston Klein who was her art teacher while she was on exchange at Fontys University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. From there, she set foot on the path to creating picture books and has never looked back. When it comes to material for her illustrations, Lian likes to combine different themes and try a range of artistic mediums. She is an expert in zany humor and taps into the little details and fun of everyday life. While she was creating Who’s in the Fridge?, Lian held onto the childish innocence of her original concept and deliberately set up lots of scenes that young children could interact with so that they don’t just enjoy the story but also open each page and find it filled with fun surprises.


Paying Attention to the Humor in Everything

Who’s in the Fridge? tells the magical story of a little boy who sneaks out in the middle of the night to steal pudding but when he opens the fridge, he’s shocked to find that it contains a seal and a polar bear. The story begins by announcing one rule: you shouldn’t go to the fridge after 10 pm. However, the protagonist has already broken that rule on the title page by tiptoeing to open the kitchen door and starting the chain of events. The text uses different colors to distinguish between the characters which makes things clear on first glance and also lets the reader naturally immerse themselves in the plot and illustrations without being distracted by the narration.

At first glance, Who’s in the Fridge? is a happy, light-hearted story but it cleverly changes tone into a narrative about protecting the environment and caring for animals. The seal and polar bear eventually escape without a hitch but the happy ending also leaves the reader with a sense of suspense. We might ask young readers: why are the animals hiding in the fridge? Since the earth’s environment is becoming more extreme and the animals don’t have a home or enough to eat, where will they go when they leave the fridge? The author takes the fun, humorous story and ingeniously weaves this mindset of caring for living things in amongst the pages.


Spreading Laughter Across the World Through a Picture Book

Lian has created a vivid and hilarious story by combining a simple concept with freeform line drawings and snapshots that feel as though they’re brimming with rhythm. Although Who’s in the Fridge? is written by a Taiwanese author-illustrator, the subject matter isn’t hindered by national boundaries as most households across the world have a refrigerator and the story closely corresponds with children’s mindsets. Lian believes that the book can successfully cross language and cultural barriers to be a hit with readers around the world.