Sean Taylor, illus. Jean Jullien
Little monster wants to be in a story, a scary one. However, when he finds himself actually in a dark and scary forest, with a spooky house, a witch and a ghost it all proves just a bit TOO scary. Things take a turn for the better though when little monster takes charge and does the scaring himself.
Told as a conversation between an unseen narrator and a little monster this story is great fun to read aloud –and for children to join in with when they become familiar with the story. Bold illustrations add to the humour and the spookiness.
Share the story
Read the book through yourself before reading to your child to get the feel of how the story works with two voices.
When you read the story aloud it might be fun to make little monster’s voice a bit different from the narrator’s voice. Pause as you read if your child wants to talk about what is happening in the story of the illustrations.
Once children are familiar with the story they might enjoy joining in, perhaps taking the part of little monster, or it might be even more fun if they become the grown-up voice of the narrator and you are the little monster. It is fine if your child uses different words – they are still getting familiar with the story and its meaning.
Younger children can join in by copying little monster’s expressions when he is scared at the beginning of the story or being scary just like him at the end of the story.
They also might enjoy holding stick puppets for the characters while you read it. (See below)
Talk about the story
Share favourite pages in the story. You could start by saying which page you like most and why. This might be because it is funny or you like the illustration)
Talk about how little monster feels at different parts of the story – how his expression changes.
Would your child like to be in a scary story? What would they choose to be in the story? A person, a monster or another character? Would it be more fun to be the one doing the scaring or the one who is scared?
Things to make and do
Make a mask
Make a little monster mask. A paper plate would be useful for this. Your child could draw circles for eyes directly on the plate (help them draw these in roughly the right place) and a mouth shape too. Cut out the shapes for them. Your child can paint or colour their mask purple and stick on white card horns and teeth. Add thread to the sides so that the mask can be tied on then your child can have fun being scary.
Make stick puppets
Make stick puppets of the main characters in the story – children can hold them when you share the story or to help them make up their own scary story. They can draw their own witch, ghost and monster shapes on card. They can then colour them in and you can help cut them out and stick them onto a lolly stick.
Make up a scary story
Make up a scary story together. If you not sure how to go about this you could start off with a phrase such as ‘Once upon a time there was a dark…. (pause so children could add their own place, eg castle/forest/house) in it there lived a… again pause so children can suggest something. I they are hesitant make suggestions eg ghost/witch/monster…. One day a little boy/girl/ monster etc …
Once you have made up a story together you could write it down for them and your child could illustrate it.
Alternatively, you could tell the story to other members of the family perhaps using stick puppets to bring it to life.
Draw a picture
Your child could draw their own spooky house or dark and scary forest using a big piece of paper and crayons.
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