The Monster at the End of this Book – classic storytime dynamite

250px-The_Monster_at_the_End_of_This_Book_Starring_Lovable,_Furry_Old_GroverGrover is doing all he can to avoid coming face to face with the monster at the end of this book.


Bibliographic Info:  Stone, Jon (author), Smollin, Mike (illustrator) The Monster at the End of this Book  Sesame Workshop (1999), Originally published by Golden Books (1971) 32pp. Formats: Big Little Golden Book Hardcover  ISBN 978-0- 307-01085-8 $8.89, Paperback, Board Book, Kindle, iBook, App  Interest Level: preK-K  Genre: Comedy and Humor  Themes:  Print Awareness, Classics, Monsters, Reading for Fun, Feelings

StorytimeWow_FinalLogo-1Given the StorytimeWOW Marquee Seal on March 3rd, 2015.  This material meets the StorytimeWOW Standards and has been selected for three collections on this site:  PictureBookWOW, Picture eBookWOW and AppWOW.  Read the Storytime section below for details on why this story was selected.

imagesSummary:  “Lovable, furry Grover” is scared after reading the title, “The Monster at the End of this Book.”  He desperately tries to convince the reader not to turn each consecutive page (to avoid the monster).  As pages keep turning, Grover desperately tries methods to prevent a confrontation with the “monster”.  When “the end” of the book comes, the only one there is Grover.  That’s when Grover realizes that he is actually the monster at the end of this book.


Review:  Beware of The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone and illustrated by Mike Smollin.  So simple.  So funny.  So magical in its ability to engage children… this Little Golden Book is storytime dynamite.  The book is a classic piece of mischief that spotlights the winning personality of Sesame Street’s Grover. The premise is a monster- sized hook that combines with kinetic illustrations to take reader and listeners on a comedic ride.  Who doesn’t love Grover?  The Monster at the End of this Book is an all-time favorite that cleverly captures children’s attention from start to finish.


Storytime: The Monster at the End of this Book received the StorytimeWOW Marquee Seal because it meets all ten StorytimeWOW Standards:

  1. Dynamic writing and universal appeal.  The writing directly addresses and empowers young listeners, putting children squarely in the driver’s seat.  The fact that this story has been popular since it was published in 1971 is evidence of its universal appeal.
  2. A strong writing/illustrating relationship is evident.  The story could not work without the pictures and vice versa.
  3. This book brims over with the “WOW” factor (which means children find it enjoyable).  The hook installs a sense of anticipation that carries through until the end of the story.
  4. The Monster at the End of this Book is well-suited for repetition. The story is respected as a classic evidences its timelessness.
  5. The illustrations work for groups. The original little golden book version of The Monster at the End of this Book is too small for larger groups.  However, the classic is now available in a larger printed format and electronic formats (eBook and App) that can be used with a large screen monitor or projector, making the illustrations easy to see from a distance.  It is also available as a big book.
  6. The book possesses the happy takeaway of silliness and laughter.
  7. Monsters and fear are engaging and child-centered themes.
  8. The story keeps the listener’s attention and is free of squirmy moments.
  9. The interest level of this story is preK through K, but its enjoyable for all ages.
  10. A brilliant original concept that centers around built-in participation involves readers on every page.  The Monster at the End of this Book is not just a picture book, it’s a group experience.

thStorytime Tips:  You may choose the to read this book out loud to a group of kids or use the app and let Grover narrate.  Usually, a storyteller who uses a picture book app should silence the app’s narration feature.  However, the app for this book is an enjoyable and immersive experience that a storyteller may orchestrate (also, you cannot turn off Grover’s narration in the app).  If you prefer to tell the story in your own voice, use the large hardcover format, the eBook (with a large screen) or the big book.  The material presents storytellers with a fun opportunity to ham it up thanks to Grover’s exaggerated feelings.  Here’s a few more storytelling tips:

  • Turn on your best gravelly blue monster voice and enjoy yourself.
  • Ask listeners if and when each page should be turned (wink, wink).
  • Choose volunteers to help you turn the pages (whether you use a traditional or electronic format).

Bibliotherapeutic Usefulness – The Monster at the End of this Book is an excellent opportunity for caregivers to encourage children to discuss their fears.  Sesame Workshop suggests asking children what else Grover might be afraid of (besides monsters) after reading this book.  For young children, recognizing feelings (their own and others) and naming them is a key step in emotional development.


Early Childhood Education and Development:  The following lists The Monster at the End of this Book’s stand-out benefits across various early childhood education (ECE) and child development checklists.

1.  This book/eBook/app cultivates the following Pre-Reading Skills (see full list of pre-reading skills here):

  • Teaches how to handle a book/eBook/app (print awareness)
  • Cultivates interest and enjoyment in books (print motivation)

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

  • Talking with kids and telling them stories helps them learn to express themselves and conversations.
  • Reading together is “the single most effective way to help children become proficient readers” (Every Child Ready to Read).
  • Playing is a primary way in which children learn language (and this book is very playful).

3. This book/eBook/app 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
  • Understanding actions have causes and effects (turning pages!)
  • Recognize some common sight words like “stop”

4. This book/eBook/app follows Common Core Guidelines (see full list here):

  • Integrate new media materials and technology in group programs and classroom settings.  Cultivate media literacy behaviors through modeling.
  • 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 book/eBook/app supports young children’s “emerging mental abilities” by providing opportunities for “key experiences” that strengthen or broaden these abilities (see full list here):

  • Using Language (naming and expressing feelings, listening to others describe things and events, listening to stories)
  • Representing (relating pictures to real places and things, role-playing, pretending)
  • Temporal Relations (anticipating future events verbally, starting and stopping on signal, understanding the order of events – beginning, middle, end)

Significance:  Published in 1971 (more than four decades ago), The Monster at the End of this Book is an evergreen picture book/eBook/app that retains its charm and popularity. 

th-1Read-alikes:  Like The Monster at the End of this Book,  Wild About Books by Judy Sierra, The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak, and Another Monster at the End of this Book are funny read-aloud picture books about books.  These stories broaden children’s print awareness (by deepening their knowledge about books), a pre-reading skill that contributes to early literacy.

Links:  Little Golden Book wiki   Scholastic   Amazon  

Awards:  In 2007, this best-selling Sesame Street title was named by the National Education Association as one of its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children.”  It was also named one of the “Top 100 Picture Books” of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.

App Awards:  Reached No. 1 for “Books” in the App Store, Winner of 2012 Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award – Best Preschool App, Winner of 2011 Cybils Award — first Book App award winner, Named one of Babble’s 50 Best iPhone and iPad Apps for Kids of 2011, 2011 Children’s Technology Review, Editor’s Choice Award

Other Reviews:  Goodreads   Macworld iPad App Review

I chose to review this material because I love the original Little Golden Book.  The app was recommended for new media storytime by LittleeLit.com.

3Make Reading More Fun


Written by Tom Schween, founder of storytimeWOW!