Storytime with Karen – Monsters

Monsters have always been present in children’s literature. They are normally portrayed as scary and ugly and horrible. From the bogeyman to zombies, aliens, ogres, trolls, ghouls, vampires, dragons, witches, goblins and more, there are many different types of monsters. But there are also monsters that are portrayed as friendly and fun! Think of Grover, Elmo and the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street for example.

Exposure to monsters can have a positive impact on the growth of a child’s imagination and emotional maturation. If monsters are presented in a way which is frightening to a child, this encourages the child to acknowledge and confront this fear. If children believe they have the resources necessary to battle the monster, then its presence becomes less threatening. Imaginary adventures with fictional monsters can help children to build resilience for real life.

With Halloween now popular in Australia, it presents a great opportunity to read young children some picture books that feature monsters. 

Image: pixabay

Books

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written and illustrated by Heidi McKinnon

There’s no such thing

There’s no such thing as monsters, is there? Bear and Ted are camping, and Bear is worried that something scary is lurking in the dark. Could it be a hungry giant or a blood-sucking spider or maybe a fire-breathing dragon? This is a fun picture book that uses humour, anticipation and suspense to engage. The bold illustrations on night time black pages are very appealing and so is the use of sounds to highlight Bear’s fear. This book was shortlisted for the 2021 CBCA Book of the Year: Early Childhood award. The children at my Storytime loved it! It’s a really fun book to read aloud.

Pig the Monster

A perfect children’s picture book for Halloween, featuring the greedy and selfish Pig the Pug on a rampage for treats on Halloween night. Comical, fun and funny, Pig learns a lesson about gobbling too much candy. And luckily Trevor the dachshund is on hand to help out when Pig forgets dogs can’t eat chocolate. Pig’s costume changes are very entertaining. He starts the night dressed as a ghostly ghoul but also appears as Frankenstein’s pup, a zombified bumpkin, an egg-hurling dragon, a gluttonous goblin and more! A fun rhyming story to read-aloud and the vivid illustrations are so engaging.

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written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey

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written by Jon Stone and illustrated by Mike Smollen

The Monster at the End of this Book

Grover is afraid of monsters. And there is a monster at the end of this book! Grover pleads with the reader to stop turning pages because each page brings us closer to the monster. He tries to nail the pages shut, he tries to tie the pages down, he even builds a brick wall. But somehow the reader always turns the page. Grover becomes more and more fearful and hysterical about the impending monster. But are all monsters bad? This classic picture book celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. If a book is good it will continue to be popular. 

Songs

Knock Knock, Trick or Treat?

This is the perfect children’s song for Halloween. It was created for children aged 3 and up.

Five Little Monsters Jumping on the Bed

This is a slightly spooky version of the children’s classic rhyme, with monsters instead of monkeys.

Crafty Idea

Make a monster mask or monster stick puppet!

You will need:

  • A4 white card stock
  • Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Straw or skewer
  • Template

Method:

  • Print template onto white card stock.
  • Colour in using crayons or coloured markers.
  • Cut around the dotted lines.
  • Tape a straw or skewer to the back of the mask.
  • If you didn’t want to cut out the eyes to make a mask, you could leave the eyes in place (as I have) and even add legs to create your own monster.