Ned, Ned, Ned.
What is it with Ned and that pesky bed? Well before we jump to that, let's talk about why Ned is important to the story in the first place.
He's the first real, non-creature character in the book to get a name, and he's the only one that appears again multiple times in the story (aside from the kiddos of course). This means he's probably a pretty important little dude, so let's examine Ned (and get right to that bed).
From the get-go, Ned's not the happiest of characters. Here's how he introduces himself to the reader:
Who am I?
My name is Ned.
I do not like
my little bed. (83-86)
Nice to meet you, Ned. Or… not. In fact, it's not very nice to meet you at all. Must you be such a bummer?
Yep, Ned doesn't waste any time in letting the reader know what's bothering him. He jumps directly from "Hi, I'm Ned," to his complaints about his bed. Over and over again, we hear about Ned's bed and how it's too small for him to fit into it. Okay, Ned. We get it. Cool it with the gripes.
But Ned doesn't stop with just the bed. Oh no, he's just getting started. When someone calls him, he tells them about the bed, but he also launches into a series of complaints about all those noisy animals that pay him visits. In another phone conversation, Ned adds on some serious grumbling about how a mouse has cut the telephone wire. Okay, that one, we can sympathize with, right?
Throughout our brief acquaintance with Ned, he does nothing but act like a complete grump.
Whereas the boy and the girl in the book are having a grand old time and accepting whatever comes next, Ned literally cannot get past the bed in order to get on with the rest of his day.
In this way, Ned acts as a foil to the children in the story; he shows the reader exactly how not to be—grumpy, judgey, and wet blanket-y. Where the children are optimistic and hungry for adventure, Ned is pessimistic and afraid to move on.