*Picture book, fantasy for preschoolers to second graders
*A “big, scary monster” as the main character
*Rating: Big Scary Monster is a cute picture book that you can use with children to talk about a lot of different themes/lessons. See below!
Short, short summary: Big scary monster lives on top of a mountain and loves to hop out and scare the animals that are smaller than him. Soon the animals wise up and hide from him, so he gets bored with no one to scare. In the valley below, he sees other animals for him to scare, and so he makes his way down the mountain. But as he makes his way down the mountain, he starts to realize that the “small” rocks are bigger than he realized and so are the small plants. And the little creatures that seemed so small when he was on top of the mountain weren’t so small after all! He hid behind a big rock because he felt scared, when all of a sudden, a big, white, fluffy bunny yelled, “BOO!” He ran back up to the safety of the mountain and was very sad and lonely, until the little animals decided to play with him and become friends. And what do you think their favorite game was?
So what do you do with this book?
1. Perception is not often addressed in children’s picture books, so that’s one thing that makes BIG SCARY MONSTER special. When monster is on top of the mountain, everything below him looks smaller. Have your students/children ever been up high and looked down? What did they see? How did things look? Why do things look small when you are up high? Why do things look close when they are actually farther away? You can discuss these points with students in the context of the story! Perfect for an art lesson, too.
2. This is also a lesson (gentle lesson) about getting along with others and playing well. The monster is not very nice to the animals. He thinks he is playing, but they seem scared. How could they solve this problem without the monster having to leave the mountain? Talk to your students/children about talking to a friend who isn’t playing nicely. In other words, this is is a great, subtle lesson on USING YOUR WORDS!
3. Ask students/children to pretend they are the big, scary monster and write a letter to his friends on the mountain, apologizing and asking them to play. Young children can do this with their teacher as a shared writing lesson. Older students can do it on their own.