The Monster’s Monster

Title: The Monsters’ Monster

Author & Illustrator: Patrick McDonnell (Interview at Kirkus Reviews)

Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company, 2012
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Monsters, Behavior

Opening Lines:

“Grouch, Grump, and little Gloom ‘n’ Doom thought they were monsters.
They lived om a dark monster castle, high atop a dark monster mountain, overlooking a monster-fearing village.”

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

Once upon a time, there were three little rascals who thought they were the BIGGEST, BADDEST monsters around. Then along came an even BIGGER monster who changed their minds. And all it took was two little words.

In this playful tale from bestselling picture book author Patrick McDonnell, a very BIG monster shows three very BAD little monsters the power of boundless gratitude.


Downloadable activity sheets – includes a writing/drawing exercise, maze, word search, and more. I love it when authors/illustrators put up activity sheets that match the look and feel of the book.

Why I Like This Book:

An endearing, non-scary story that answers the question “what makes a monster a monster”. Perfect for kids who may see a little bit of themselves in these loveable monsters.

Three teeny monsters, Grouch, Grump, and Gloom ‘n’ Doom love thinking they are bad. They smash, crash and huff ‘n puff about nothing, their favorite word is No!, and they get into fights with themselves. One day they create the biggest, baddest monster ever but things don’t quite turn out the way they had expected. The big monster is happy and caring. The little monsters learn a lesson about being grateful.

The text and illustrations are amazing. The text uses alliteration, repetitive word structure and is most importantly playful. The illustrations are humorous and cartoon like. Notice how the color tone of the book changes from dull to bright as the story progresses, reflective of the mood.  Checkout Great Kid Books review for some sample pages from the book.

A wonderful book to read during Halloween or anytime during the year. Since some of the illustrations are on the smaller side (the teeny monsters) this book is best read in small groups.

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

This book was nominated by BookBanditNicole for the 2012 Cybils Awards in the Fiction Picture Book category. I am a second-round judge in this category, but this review reflects my opinions only, not those of any other panelist, or the panel as a whole. Thanks!

27 Comments to “The Monster’s Monster”

  1. Love the progressive sizes and the two-headed monster! I am definitely adding this to my library list, Dar!

  2. This book looks like such fun! The three little monsters (love their names) look like characters out of a comic strip. Dare I say that they’re adorable? Can a person say that about monsters? I’d love to read this book. I must see if our library has it. Thanks, Darshana!

  3. Have this one out right now – really like the colorful expression of the monster thankful to be alive. Overall cute pick!

    • I know he is adorable. My kids enjoyed looking at all the naughtiness of the little monsters and the big monster’s special two words, it reminded us of when the girls were toddlers.

  4. I love Patrick McDonnell, but I’ve missed this book—will have to grab it and add to my stack. Thanks for sharing.

  5. That sounds so cute and I haven’t read any Patrick McDonnell before.

  6. This sounds delightful, Darshana! I totally want to read it – this week especially! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. This is my new favorite monster book. Your post reminded me that I meant to include it in my Halloween blogpost and I forgot! Oops! Thanks for sharing:)

  8. I just ordered it from the library. Thanks for sharing a monster book that I am not already firm friends with.

  9. The illustrations remind me of the Mutts Comic Strips in the Newspaper! 🙂 I like the little monsters’ names! 🙂

  10. I love how the illustrations help make this book not-too-scary. What a great choice for younger children.

  11. I can’t get enough of monster books and this one seems like the perfect Halloween book to remind us all that Thanksgiving is a feeling not a day. Thanks for sharing this choice. 🙂

  12. Another great pick with a powerful message. Love that cover. It says so much.

  13. I haven’t had a chance to see this book, but I keep hearing good things about it. I like the author’s other books and it’s nice to have a non-scary monster book. My youngest is very scared of most monsters in books. We can’t even read Where the Wild Things Are. Thanks for linking up to The Children’s Bookshelf, again!

  14. I’ve been hearing about this book quite a lot lately too. I love the lesson in the story.

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