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Monster Madness

Some monsters seem scary, some sympathetic, while others can only be described as supremely silly. Whether they're hiding under the bed, or going bump in the night, monsters may be all around! Get crazy with some monster madness using this list of recommended books for children ages 0-9.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

A Creepy Countdown

By: Charlotte Huck, Joseph A. Smith
Illustrated by: Joseph A. Smith
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

From “one tall scarecrow standing on a hill” the countdown of creepy Halloweenish creatures continues until ten tiny mice scare them all with a loud “BOO!” The countdown begins again from ten until “one tall scarecrow stood all alone.” The rhyming count is illustrated by carefully composed, highly expressive black & white scratchboard illustrations.

Awful Ogre's Awful Day

By: Jack Prelutsky, Paul O. Zelinsky
Illustrated by: Paul O. Zelinsky
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Awful Ogre’s day is much like anyone else’s, but with an ogre-ish twist. He uses onion juice as a mouthwash with just a dab on his chin, writes love letters to a delightfully disgusting ogress and more. The clever rhyming verse and dark-lined illustrations are filled with humor and visual jokes that will make this collection of poetry awfully popular.

Do Not Open

By: Brinton Turkle
Illustrated by: Brinton Turkle
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Miss Moody loves storms. They wash up many surprises, which she always uses in her sturdy little seaside house where she lives with Captain Kidd, her cat. One day, Miss Moody and Captain Kidd find a bottle washed up on the beach. When they ignore the warning not to open it, they release a mean, evil, genie-like creature. Undaunted, Miss Moody and her cat outsmart and defeat the monster. Dramatic illustrations are both comforting and appropriately spooky in this satisfying story in folktale tradition.

First Graders from Mars: Horus' Horrible Day

By: Shana Corey
Illustrated by: Mark Teague
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Even young monsters on Mars can have trouble adjusting to the first day of first grade. Not only does Horus miss the comforts of Martiangarten, but a know-it-all student harasses him. At his mother's insistence, a very reluctant Horus returns the next day. Once there, he is able to forget his own problems when he helps a new and even more timid Martian. Characters are vividly colored and peculiarly shaped to create a comical but sympathetic school story of adjustment and emerging friendship.

Go Away, Big Green Monster!

By: Ed Emberley
Illustrated by: Ed Emberley
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

The big Green Monster gradually appears on dye-cut pages with its big yellow eyes, a long nose, and a big red mouth with sharp teeth and more to create a “big scary green face!” But readers are in control as they turn the pages making the monster “GO AWAY” feature by stylized feature. Young children will be empowered by this carefully conceived and brightly colored book.

Goblins in Green

By: Nicholas Heller, Joseph A. Smith
Illustrated by: Joseph A. Smith
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Meet Annabelle, Zelda, and the 24 lively green goblins in between, all dressed in zany costumes gleaned from an attic trunk. The language is alliterative and may stretch readers (and listeners) though well-crafted, brilliantly hued illustrations brimming with verve and humor provide visual cues and clues. This sophisticated, slyly humorous alphabet book merits numerous re-examinations.

Harry and the Terrible Whatzit

By: Dick Gackenbach
Illustrated by: Dick Gackenbach
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Harry knows that a terrible two-headed monster lives in his basement. So when his mother doesn’t return from a trip downstairs, Harry swallows his trepidations and goes down to rescue her. But when he confronts the monster face-to-face, it literally diminishes in size and eventually leaves Harry’s house forever. Humorous illustrations use black line and limited color to depict Harry overcoming a once fierce (but softly edged) monster.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

By: Linda Williams, Megan Lloyd
Illustrated by: Megan Lloyd
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

On her way home one windy autumn night, a fearless old lady notices a pair of shoes following her (clomp clomp!). Then she sees and hears the pants, shirt, and the rest of the outfit, but she’s not afraid - that is until she sees a large pumpkin head! The little old woman who wasn’t afraid of anything is also a very good runner – and run she does to the safety of her own home. This engaging story, based in traditional literature, is illustrated with crisp, humorous illustrations and encourages listener participation.

The Mysterious Tadpole

By: Steven Kellogg
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

When Louis' uncle sends a tadpole from a certain lake in Scotland, the small tadpole grows to enormous proportions. With the help of a resourceful librarian, Louis figures out a way to feed his large and ever-hungry Alphonse as well as determine a permanent solution. Humor abounds in this contemporary classic.

The Tailypo: A Ghost Story

By: Joanna Galdone, Paul Galdone
Illustrated by: Paul Galdone
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A long time ago, an old man who lived in a rustic cabin in the woods ate the tail of mysterious critter. That night, the critter came back to get his tail saying, “Tailypo, tailypo, all I want is my tailypo.” Getting that tailypo makes for a satisfyingly spooky tale bound to make readers or listeners jump. Galdone’s cartoon-like illustrations add humor to a creepy yarn drawn from the oral tradition.

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Maria Salvadore
Maria Salvadore
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