Go Away, Big Green Monster! – quiet children’s fears

27d8cd-848517054_1_640Children practice making a monster go away.


Bibliographic Info:  Emberly, Ed  Go Away, Big Green Monster!  Little, Brown and Company (1992)  32pp  Formats:  Hardcover ISBN 978-0-316-23653-9  $10.99  Paperback  App (available on Nook, not available for iPad in the US)  Interest Level: toddler-2  Reading Level (Grade Level Equivalent): 1.8  Genre: Toy and Movable Books  Themes:  Bedtime, Bravery, Colors, Confidence, Fear, Monsters

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Go Away, Big Green Monster! was given the StorytimeWOW Marquee Seal on March 6th, 2015.  This book meets the StorytimeWOW Standards and has been selected for the PictureBookWOW collection on this site.  Read the Storytime section below for details on why it was selected.

th-1Summary:   A novelty book that gives children the opportunity to build a monster’s face and then empowers them to make him go away.

Review:  “Go Away, Big Green Monster!” is brilliant.  As you turn this concept book’s pages, the big green monster’s face slowly appears through the use of die-cuts. The effect is magnetic.  Just when the monster’s face is totally visible, Emberly flips the script and encourages kids to make the monster go away (piece by piece).  The effect again is magnetic.  The book empowers young children by giving them the language to send a monster packing.  Saturated primary colors bleed evenly off the pages.  The monster’s features leap forward through die-cuts, contrasting against bright backgrounds until they disappear.  Dynamic die-cuts make “Go Away, Big Green Monster!” well-suited for group storytimes.  Of course, this is a great book for bedtime too. 

The App:  The app is not currently available in iTunes or via Apple’s App Store (which is unfortunate).  I have seen a couple great reviews.  However, the app is available on Nook.  I use an iPad and Apple TV for new media storytimes, so I hope to see the “Go Away, Big Green Monster” app in Apple formats soon in the US. 


Storytime:  “Go Away, Big Green Monster!”  is a surefire storytime hit.  The popular read aloud was given StorytimeWOW’s Marquee Seal on March 6th, 2015 because it meets the following StorytimeWOW Standards:

  • Dynamic writing and universal appeal.  From beginning to end, this toy book is magnetic.
  • A strong writing/illustrating relationship is evident.  In this case, the writing and the die-cuts work together to create an unforgettable experience.
  • The “WOW” factor (it’s fun for kids) is also evident. Children enjoy experiencing this story.  It hooks them on page one and satisfies in the end.
  • “Go Away, Big Green Monster!” is well-suited for repetition. Young children will want to read and tell the story to you.  After more than 20 years (it was published in 1992), the book is just getting started.  New spinoffs, eBook formats and apps are in development.  The concept is timeless.
  • The big and easy to see illustrations work perfectly for groups.  This is a story that does not need to be projected on a big screen to be enjoyed by groups.  In fact, the clever die-cuts create a magical effect that cannot be bested by electronic technology.
  • The book possesses the takeaway of children’s empowerment and encouragement in the face of fear.
  • Monsters and fear are child-centered themes.
  • The concept is highly engaging and free of squirmy moments.
  • Built for young children, the interest level of this story is on target:  toddlers through age 2.
  • Built-in participation elements invite kids to name facial features, name colors, and say “Go Away (fill in the blank).”

th-2Storytime Tips:  To use this book during storytime, just have children fill in the words “eyes”, “ears”, “nose”, “mouth”, “teeth”, “hair” and “face”.  The second time you tell it, take participation a step further by allowing kids to fill in the names of the colors as well.  The book is highly interactive so let children enjoy helping you tell the story.


Early Childhood Education and Development:  The following lists the stand-out benefits of “Go Away, Big Green Monster!” across various early childhood education (ECE) and child development checklists.

1. “Go Away, Big Green Monster!” is a picture book that cultivates the following Pre-Reading Skills (see full list of pre-reading skills here):

  • Teaches toddlers names of facial parts, colors and various descriptors (vocabulary)
  • Noticing print and following words on a page or screen (print awareness).
  • Cultivates interest and enjoyment in books (print motivation).
  • Being able to describe things (narrative skills)

2. This picture book provides opportunities to utilize the Early Literacy-building Parent Practices (see full list of parent practices here):

  • To encourage talking, use the technique described in the Bibliotherapeutic Usefulness section below.
  • Reading together is “the single most effective way to help children become proficient readers” (source:  Every Child Ready to Read).
  • Playing is a primary way in which children learn language.  “Go Away, Big Green Monster!” is a playful and satisfying toy/game book.

3. This picture book builds children’s Kindergarten Readiness (see full checklist here).  Children well-prepared for kindergarten are able to:

  • Listen to stories without interrupting
  • Pay attention for short periods of time to adult-directed tasks
  • Speak understandably
  • Talk in complete sentences of five to six words
  • Look at pictures and then tell stories
  • Identify the beginning sound of some words
  • Recognize some common sight words like “go”

4. This picture book follows Common Core Guidelines (see full list here):

  • Increase focus on children’s comprehension through dialogic reading.  Ask questions before, during and after telling stories.
  • Create a more participatory culture in group programs and classroom settings.  Use materials that invite participation and keep learners engaged.

5. This picture book supports young children’s “emerging mental abilities” by providing opportunities for “key experiences” that strengthen and broaden these abilities (see full list here):

  • Using Language (conversing with adults about personally meaningful experiences, describing objects verbally, naming and expressing feelings in words, listening to others describe objects and events, listening to stories and poems being read, making up stories)
  • Classification (investigating and labeling attributes:  what parts does it have?)
  • Temporal Relations (starting and stopping an action on signal)
  • Spatial Relations (experiencing ones own body, how it is structured, what the basic parts can do, describing the positions of things in relation to each other – in the middle, on the top of, on the side of, on the bottom of, above, under, below, beneath, beside, next to, between, etc…, distinguishing and describing shapes – circle, triangle, etc…)

th-4Bibliotherapeutic Usefulness:  The theme of this book is an important topic for children’s emotional development, their fears.  After reading the story, ask kids what else they would like to make go away.  Encourage children to name their feelings and their fears.  Perhaps together you can send more of your kid’s fears packing, piece by piece.

Read-alikesth-3:  Looking for more of the same?  Nighty Night, Little Green Monster and Glad Mother, Sad Mother are additional titles that feature die-cuts by Ed Emberly.

Links:  Ed Emberly’s website   Scholastic  teaching resources  Amazon  

Other Reviews:  Goodreads   Kirkus

I chose to review this book because of its brilliant and unique concept.  Plus, I am curating a collection of read-alouds for traditional and new media storytime.

3Make Reading More Fun


Go to your local library to check out books for free (and get more recommendations).  Written by Tom Schween, founder of storytimeWOW!