Category Archives: Monsters

monster books for kids

Picture Books, Rhymes and Songs Featuring Monsters

There is something about kids and monsters. They are repelled by them, yet at the same time they find them exciting and compelling. After all, what are monsters anyway if not reflections of children’s imaginations? Similar to aliens, they can look anyway you want them to. Their behavior is imperfect, to say the least, yet many modern depictions have redeemable qualities. Of course every child has a little bit of monster in them, but not all children are comfortable with the subject matter. These books are all very mild, but may not be a good fit for some younger or more timid children. Use your own judgement. If your child is like my gregarious and somewhat naughty little boy, grab a whole pile of monster books and dig in. Here are ten reviews of monster books for kids, plus more recommendations.

Yesterday I read The Monsters’ Monster by Patrick McDonnell to twenty preschoolers. The kids enjoyed the book and the teachers appreciated the pro-social message. Three kid-sized monsters named Grouch, Grump, and little Gloom ‘n’ Doom live in a monster castle over top a village. They spend their lives arguing and making mischief, until they decide to make the “biggest, baddest monster EVER!” The result is a sweet, caring creature that helps the three terrors learn the value of friendship. This book accomplishes a difficult task: it teaches behavior without becoming moralistic or dogmatic. Ages 3+

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems is another monster that doesn’t live up to the name. He can’t scare anyone and he feels inadequate compared to other larger and weirder monsters. Finally, he searches out the most “scaredy-cat kid” in the world and finds Sam. When he is not even able to scare Sam, he finds another better purpose for his life. As usual, Willems uses his trademark humor to make an appealing book for youngsters. Ages 3+

Don’t Squish the Sasquatch! by Kent Redeker is a great book for teaching children about personal space. Upon embarking on a city bus, Senor Sasquatch tells the bus driver that he hopes it does not become too crowded, because he does “not like to get squished!” Of course, all of the other unusual creatures (Miss Elephant Shark, Mr. Octo-Rhino, etc.) immediately start pushing against him. This prompts the refrain, “Don’t Squish the Sasquatch!!” and eventually an attempt to “smooth” the Sasquatch. Both of my kids loved this bright and breezy book. Ages 3+

The next book, Bedtime for Monsters by Ed Vere, is sure to elicit lots of squealing. What if, this story asks, a monster is coming for you! Maybe he is coming to come eat you up? The silly illustrations build lots of anticipation, before the inevitable amicable conclusion. It is a fun book to read to braver kids. Ages 4+

When a Monster Is Born by Sean Taylor also plays with differing possibilities. Each page gives two options of what could happen until the story comes around full circle. My children both enjoyed reading this book, but they disagreed about their favorite picture. My daughter liked the page with the baby monster; my son liked the page where the mommy and daddy monsters are eating each other. This book has a nice rhythm when read aloud. Age 4+

Maurice Sendak’s classic, Where the Wild Things Are, is celebrating its fiftieth birthday in 2013 and is just as relevant today as it was in 1963. My children’s literature professor in graduate school used this book to teach how illustrators of picture books can play with the white space around a picture. At the beginning of the book, when Max is misbehaving, every page is framed with a white border, but after he is disciplined and moves into his imaginary world the borders disappear and the pictures take over the entire page. My children have a love/hate relationship with this story. As a toddler, my daughter used to hate it because the monsters were too scary, now she loves it and fondly recalls performing as a Wild Thing in preschool. My son gravitated toward this book at an early age, but now he claims to not like it, because, Max’s out of control behavior is too frightening. (If ever a kid resembles Max from this book, it is my son.) My husband and I love this book, a poster of a Wild Thing bowing to Max has been hanging in our various abodes for over a decade. Ages 3+

Pete Seeger, from Peter, Paul and Mary has been telling the story of Abiyoyo, a South African tale about a boy, his magical father and a giant named Abiyoyo since the 1960s. This picture book edition includes a CD of Seeger telling/singing the story. My son became interested in Abiyoyo last year after a parent in his preschool class read this book to the class. Since then, he has drawn dozens of Abiyoyos, made a giant Abiyoyo out of construction paper and “played” the Abiyoyo song many times on our piano. Rule of thumb, if your kid loves The Incredible Hulk, he/she will probably love Abiyoyo. Ages 4+

Monster Mess! by Margery Cuyler, is a story about monster who picks up messes in a little boy room. I found it somewhat odd and off-putting, since if I was a giant insect with multiple arms and legs, this story could be about me. My son does not share my repulsion and was dismayed  when I told him that it would eventually need to be returned to the library. This is a very fast read and the action is simple, so it might be appropriate for some toddlers. Ages 2+

How could you have a group of monster books without talking about beds? What’s Under the Bed? by Joe Fenton is all about things that go bump in the night and how kids’ imaginations go wild in the dark. I like the contrast of the black and white palette and the menacing orange of the monster. This book is not for the fainthearted. Ages 4+

Friends also uses bright colors against a black background, but no one would find this sweet book about friendship frightening. Composed of only thirteen words, this book is perfect for small children who like the idea of monsters or fantastical creatures, but can’t handle the drama. My son was particularly touched by the cuddle page, where a very little monster is hugging a big one. Ages 2+

Additional Recommended Picture Books about Monsters

Easy Readers about Monsters

Songs about Monsters

Abiyoyo – Pete Seeger

The Purple People Eater

Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Pickett

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Children's Books about Monsters

Link to a blog post about monster books or add your own suggestions!


Jul 15, 2013 - - 122
Picture Books, Rhymes and Songs Featuring Monsters

Kids can be repelled by monsters, but also find them exciting and compelling. Here are 10 reviews of monster books for kids, plus more recommendations.

Jul 15, 2013 - - 116
Monster Picture Books

The Scariest Monster in the World Weatherly, Lee ISBN: 9781906250409 Call Number: JE WEAT 2009 The scary, scary monster stomps through the woods, shouting "Get out of my way!" And all the forest creatures scurry whenever they see him coming. One day the monster starts to hiccup--and he can't stop.

Jul 16, 2013 - - 109
19 Monster Books For Kids

Books about monsters can be useful tools for parents while delighting children. These aren't just books about silly and sometimes scary monsters they are about fear and conquering it. Just like how children use pretend play to test out adult situations and roles books offer kids a chance to test out scary things in a safe place.

Jul 16, 2013 - - 107
The Best Picture Books about Not-So-Scary Monsters

Monsters are scary for young children, but these books star monsters that turn out to be not so scary, after all. Reading them can be a fun way to triumph over the scary monsters at your house.

Jul 16, 2013 - - 92
Fabulous Five: Niamh Sharkey presents five books about monsters

Today I am really chuffed to welcome Niamh Sharkey to Library Mice for a Fabulous Five feature on monsters! We have always been big fans of Niamh's at home and own many of her books: Tales from Old Ireland and Cinderella are amongst our all-time favourites, and Santasaurus, which is still one of our regular reads at Christmas time.

Poem about Monsters

by Lewis Carroll from Through the Looking Glass

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

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