Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book #264: The Monsters’ Monster by Patrick McDonnell

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Once upon a time there were three monsters that lived in a castle overlooking a monster-fearing village. Everyday the monsters, Grouch, Grump, and Gloom ’n’ Doom fought over who was the biggest, baddest monster. They could never agree, so one day they decided to work together to create the biggest, baddest monster of them all. Unfortunately for the little monsters when giant Monster comes to life they find he’s big, but he’s not so bad. In fact, the first words from Monster’s mouth are, “DANK YOU!” Will Monster learn how to be as bad as the little monsters? Or will the little monsters learn something from the gentle and kind Monster?

McDonnell is most famous for his comic strip, MUTTS, and the wide-eyed, round-nosed style of Earl and Mooch can be seen in all the monsters. The book begins in dark, dank colors that suit the angry mood of the little monsters, but as Monster shows them all to appreciate the world around them the colors gradually become lighter and brighter. As the book ends, all four characters are looking out across the ocean watching the sunrise in delicate and beautiful colors. The pace of the book is quick and page turns are placed strategically to add suspense. The text is full of sounds and dialogue, making this a fun book to read out loud.

Pair this book with other monster stories for a Halloween themed storytime. Try Even Monsters Need Haircuts, If You’re a Monster and You Know It, Go Away Big Green Monster or Frank was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance. And of course, you can’t forget The Monster at the End of This Book.

You could also use this for a storytime about good manners since Monster is always so eager to show his thankfulness for being alive. Try pairing it with The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? or The Hungry Thing. 

There’s some nice M alliteration in the title, so try using this for a storytime about the letter M and following up with some M Monsters

Not in an M mood? Don't worry, there are plenty of monster crafts (large amounts of goggly eyes are a must). Try these super simple cardboard tube monsters posted on the Crafts by Amanda Blog. Another cheap and simple craft would be to make paper lunch bag monster puppets. You can fancy them up if you have more art supplies, but kids are usually just as happy with a handful of markers and a large supply of stickers. In addition, the Hachette Book Group’s website has some nice printable activities and crafts based on this book.


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