A post by Matt:Ms. O, one of my favorite teachers from my childhood, gave Isaac a copy of “There is a Monster at the End of this Book” shortly after he was born. The book was no longer in print, but she knew a place that she could order it from. When she gave it to us, she told us fondly about how hard her sons would laugh when she read it to them when they were little boys.
It would be an easy book to overlook since it is a
“Monster” features Grover who sees the title of the book and pleads with the reader to close the book and walk away because he is afraid of the title character. On each page, Grover builds walls and barricades to prevent the reader from turning any more pages. The monster at the end of the book of course turns out to be Grover. On the last page, Grover hangs his head and says,” I am so embarrassed”.
Besides giving boys the chance to “Demolish” brick walls and wooden structures, it gives them a chance to safely conquer fear, and gives them power and control. (It may indulge a slightly sadistic streak as they get to torture Grover by continuing to read, but it’s for his own good now isn’t it?)
Whenever I read the end of one of Grover’s pleas to “Not turn the page!”, I look over at Isaac who almost always has a mischievous grin and enthusiastically encourages me to keep reading. What is there not to love about that?
The funky 70 style lettering and art remind me of my own childhood. There is slightly updated sequel called “Another Monster at the End of this Book” which features Grover and the Red Menace (Elmo). It’s pretty much the same thing, only 28% more marketable to today’s on-the-go-toddler.
You can find copies on Amazon (one even goes for $68!). It is the rare gem in the sandbox of children’s TV character stories. Whenever I read it, I can’t help but think about my former teacher who loved books and children’s laughter so much that she went out of her way to make sure that it was part of Isaac’s childhood.