Before you worry that a monster book might scare your child, read my reviews of these books about monsters. Monster books can be amazing tools to conquer fears! Both my children went through really anxious stages about monsters and using the right books we were able to turn fear into fun. Children use pretend play to test out adult situations, and books offer kids a chance to test out scary things in a safe place. Most of these monsters aren’t scary, but even the cute ones help your child feel bigger and braver.
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Monster Mess! by Margery Cuyler is a silly rhyming book about a monster who isn’t interested in scaring you, but rather cleaning up your messes. Readers follow along as the monster creeps through the house finding messes and tidying up. I loved it when the monster stepped on blocks, what parent reading this with their kids hasn’t stepped on toys like Lego and screamed in pain?! I know I do, a lot so that part resonated with me. The illustrations by S.D. Schindler are done at funky angles and perspectives and adds a lot to the text. It’s not scary at all and a great monster choice for more fearful kids.
Ten Little Beasties by Rebecca and Ed Emberley is a simple book that you will sing along with. It is a re-make of the song 10 Little Indians with a Halloween twist. The illustrations steal the show, and I bet your kids will want to count/ sing along every time you read!
Twelve Terrible Things by Marty Kelley is horrifying to me, yet my son loves this book. He must have slipped it in our library bag because I have no recollection of choosing this book, and I didn’t pre-read it when we got home. By then it was too late, my son was hooked on the dark humor this book delivers. The book offers up 12 terrible things, like a scary clown, a goldfish on its way down the toilet, and monsters under the bed. The illustrations are all from the reader’s viewpoint, so the scary things are looking right at you! I am easily scared; I can’t watch horror film trailers without getting nightmares. I screamed twice reading this; my son just wanted “more more!” I really don’t recommend this book for young kids although some older ones who like scary things will love it.
My Monster Mama Loves Me So by Laura Leuck is more my kind of monster book for kids. Imaginative illustrations by Mark Buehner kept my little man pointing out spiders, bats, and owls and he loved counting the extra eyes and arms on the monsters. The story is really sweet too. It’s all the things a mama monster does throughout the day with her little monster. It’s got a good message about how love can be an action as well as a feeling!
The Scariest Monster in the Whole Wide World by Pamela Mayer should be required reading for every dance/cheer/hockey, mom or dad. This is a GREAT story about how sometimes parents don’t hear what kids want and just plow ahead with their own plans convinced that their kids are into it. This book is for every kid who got an elaborate birthday party when all they wanted was cake. A little girl wants to be a monster for Halloween, but her parents are a little obsessed with winning the costume contest and don’t hear her. Luckily Grandma saves the day, and I love that the little girl gets to express herself and not just what her parents wanted in the end!
Jeremy Draws a Monster (Jeremy and the Monster) by Peter McCarty is a story about a little boy who has isolated himself in his room and one day draws himself a monster. The monster doesn’t really turn out the way he wants, but as he is sending the monster off on a bus, he finds himself outside and is asked to play. Sometimes it takes a bad imaginary friend ( or monster) to get you ready to make real friends.
The Monster Princess by D.J. McHale is a story about a monster Lala who so wished she could be a princess only to discover in the end that being herself is even better. As I was reading this book, I was really hoping that the three real princesses that befriend Lala would have more depth and not be the stereotypical mean girls that they are. Even after the mean princesses humiliate Lala she does the right thing and saves them when they are in danger. This book had a very predictable feel to it, but I am 35 and have lived through mean girls on film many times and been on both sides of it in real life. To a young child, this story is fresh and filled with good messages about doing what is right even when we are angry and hurt, discovering that what we dream about being may not be all it’s cracked up to be as well as my favorite message that there are “All kinds of special.”
The Book That Eats People by John Perry makes me laugh hysterically, so hard it was hard at times to read the words, but it’s really really gruesome. This is not a book for kids that are squeamish, prone to imaginative nightmares or anxiety about death. That said if your child can handle a little funny horror, they will love this book. The story follows this human eating book as it wreaks havoc and gobbles people up! I beg parents to pre-read this because it may be hilarious to my macabre little man and me, but it may seriously frighten your child.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is one of those books that makes me cry just when I think of it. If you aren’t familiar with this book, it’s not sad. It’s about a little boy who is acting up and gets sent to his room. While in his room his imagination runs wild and he is transported to the world where there are no rules, no parents and no consequences for bad behavior. Ultimately though Max’s heart pulls him back home where he is loved most of all, even when he’s wild. I think this is an amazing love story about parents and children and unconditional love.
Molly’s Monsters by Teddy Slater is a counting book in monster’s clothes. The book is about a little girl named Molly who is just trying to sleep when her room is flooded with monsters. They come in progressively larger groups, and my son liked counting to make sure the text was correct. My favorite part was that the first monster to arrive and the last to leave never does leave and instead snuggles into bed with Molly. I also like that to get these pesky visitors to leave she turns on the light and makes a scary face and scares them. Clever.
When a Monster Is Born by Sean Taylor is funny, my son didn’t find it as funny as I did, but he still laughed and didn’t seem scared any of it. The story is about a monster and all the life-changing choices he faces every day like whether to eat a principal or run through a wall of a school. This book feels like a choose your own adventure book; it’s fun, repetitive and silly. There is quite a bit of talk about monsters eating people though nothing too gory.
Monster Math by Anne Miranda is a math lesson turned into a fun and entertaining storybook. You can simply read the book, or you can have your little mathematician help you guess how many new monsters arrive and leave on each page. The illustrations are adorable and even if the math skills are above your toddler or preschoolers heads they will still enjoy the book.
Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michael Rex. We loved this book, as big Goodnight Moon fans we were all laughing reading this before bed. My almost 3-year-old thought that this was the funniest book ever made and would correct the book often with the original text.
The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone will be instantly recognizable to many of you. We didn’t grow up with Elmo (well maybe some of you young whipper snappers did) we had Grover. Loveable blue monster and narrator of this story. This book is completely interactive in that Grover is speaking directly to the reader and asking them not to turn the pages. It put me in fits of giggles when I was a child but as a mom, I love the reminder to never judge a book by its cover.
My Friend the Monster by Elanor Taylor is a sweet and not at all scary look at a friendship between a little fox and the monster who lives under his bed. The monster was left behind by a previous owner of the house that the little fox moves into. This is a sad monster but with a little time and patience the monster and the little fox make new friends, and all is well. The monster even gets his own bed in the little fox’s bedroom, so he doesn’t have to live under the bed anymore.
Go to Bed, Monster! by Natasha Wing is a book anyone who’s ever struggled with bedtime will instantly relate to. The little girl in the book Lucy isn’t sleepy, so she draws a monster but soon his refusal to go to bed even after she is sleepy backfires. I like this book, and despite his refusal to believe the monster was a monster, not a dinosaur my son really likes this book and it got to read five times today!
Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters by Jane Yolen is a sweet monster book with minimal text and very rich illustrations by Kelly Murphy. The story is really about the daily wind down and bedtime for two monsters. You and your child will absolutely relate to them on one page or another ( or all). These little monsters are just like our little monsters resisting bedtime, trying to avoid baths…well, you know the daily struggle. My daughter was not into the book, but my son liked it even though I’d gear it towards the 2-4 crowd. We chose our favorite monsters on each page and found interesting details like the recipe for tentacle soup on the page where the mom is making dinner. Cute, your child, will relate to it, and it’s not at all scary!