Great Read Aloud Books: The Monster at the End of This Book
Jul 18, 2011
'The Monster at the End of This Book,' which stars 'lovable, furry old Grover' from 'Sesame Street,' is a widely cherished picture book released by Golden Books in 1971. The postmodern story was written by Jon Stone and illustrated by Michael Smollin.
About the Story
The Monster at the End of This Book is a self-aware story in which Grover interacts with the readers. He opens the book by saying hello on the front cover, then he is shown turning the book's page while noting that the copyright page is very dull. However, he becomes alarmed when he realizes the title of the book mentions a monster; Grover is terribly afraid of monsters.
Grover asks the reader to kindly not turn the page; this will keep both him and the reader from reaching the end and the supposed monster. When the reader turns the page, Grover cries out in frustration. He begins concocting plans to prevent further pages from being turned, such as tying the pages with rope and blocking them with a brick wall that he constructs.
When all of his attempts to stop the reader from progressing through the book are thwarted, Grover makes one final plea to not go on. Yet when the reader does reach the final page, Grover realizes that the monster the title referred to is actually Grover himself. He reassures the reader that he knew there was never anything to be afraid of.
Reading the Story Aloud
Few children's books are as interactive and lively as The Monster at the End of This Book, which makes it an excellent choice for reading aloud with your child. As he narrates the story, Grover is directly addressing your child. In return, you can involve your child in the story. When Grover tries to prevent you from moving through the book, have your child attempt to turn the pages with you. You can feign difficulty as the obstacles drawn on the page grow more significant, from ropes to boards to bricks.
The diction level of the story is appropriate for beginning readers. They're aided by the print, which contains colorful and animated text that help readers know how to emphasize different words. The text is as animated as its narrator in a way that encourages highly spirited reading, with more than a few shouts and cries that are sure to delight your child.
The Book Comes Alive
Since its original publication in 1971, The Monster at the End of This Book has been adapted for modern readers. Random House released a personalized edition in 2004, for which readers could purchase a personalized dedication page. The same publisher released an interactive book in 2006 that featured moving parts and flaps that accentuate the story.
Hinkler Books released a StoryVision DVD version in 2009 that is narrated by Eric Jacobson, playing the role of Grover; in the DVD, a child's hand is seen turning the pages. In 2010, iTunes began offering a special animated version of the story for use on the iPad; this version is also narrated by Jacobson. A sequel featuring Grover and Elmo, and hewing closely to the original, is titled Another Monster at the End of This Book.
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