I tried reading The Monster at the End of This Book back when Preschool Bookworm was still Toddler Bookworm. He totally didn’t get it. Now that he’s a sophisticated three year old, he has come to understand the humor of metafiction and power of the intrusive narrator. It’s now in constant rotation, and I don’t see it going anywhere.
Each Thursday I’ll be featuring a book that my parents *could* have read to me as a child (spoiler alert: I’m no spring chicken), so we will go with a publication date of 1988 or earlier; all books must still be in print as of my writing.
Title/author: The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone.
Copyright date: 1971
Plot in a Sentence (or two): Upon reading the title of the book, Grover pleads with the reader not to turn pages because he is afraid of the monster at the book’s end, who of course turns out to be Grover himself.
Why It’s Timeless: This is the rare “diamond in the rough” of television tie-in books that I would ever consider recommending to my readers. As the subtitle reminds us, Grover is just so lovable, and that makes the plot shine. We are on his side, but we also want to show him that we know better. What preschooler wouldn’t revel in the opportunity to feel powerful and in the know? Defying Grover’s ill-informed pleas allows them a bit of clever, parent condoned naughtiness. I don’t think that will ever go out of style with kids! Metafiction (a book that uses nontraditional conventions, playing with the relationship between book & reader) is FUN! Read more about metafiction on this site.
While You’re Reading: This title gives you a chance to really ham it up. It’s interactive and so fun! Be dramatic, and your bookworm will eat it up!
Just for Fun: For a book “read alike,” check out Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! That’s a pretty popular title, so I doubt it requires much explanation on my part. If you’re not familiar, though, author Mo Willems is not to be missed!
We have also been enjoying the app, which is really an interactive ebook. The entire text of the book is included, and highlighted as Grover reads each word aloud. The interactive element is that bookworms can knock down the walls, untie the knots, and pry the boards apart, all identical to the illustrations of the book. I worried that Preschool Bookworm wouldn’t want to read the paper book after playing the app, but that hasn’t been the case! We also enjoy the sequel, Another Monster At the End of This Book which adds Elmo to the story, who is excited to meet the monster this time.
Books mentioned should be readily available at your local library, or at the Amazon affiliate link provided.