The Monster at the End of This Book: Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover
|Cover artist||Michael Smollin|
|Published||1971 (Golden Books)|
|ISBN||0-307-01085-6 (1996 ed.)|
|LC Class||MLCS 2006/42214 (P)|
|Followed by||Would You Like To Play Hide and Seek with Lovable, Furry Old Grover?|
The Monster at the End of This Book: Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover is a post-modern children's picture book based on the television series Sesame Street and starring Grover. It was written by series writer and producer Jon Stone and illustrated by Michael Smollin, and originally published by Golden Books in 1971. It has since become the all-time best-selling Sesame Street book title and has been cited as a modern classic of children's literature.
Having read the title page (or, in later editions, the cover) Grover is horrified to learn that there is a monster at the end of the book. He immediately begs the reader not to finish the book, so as to avoid meeting this dreadful scary monster.
Growing increasingly fearful as the reader continues to turn pages and frustrated that they don't seem to realise the terrible danger, Grover resorts to constructing a series of ever-more-elaborate obstacles, such as tying pages together, nailing the page to the next one and finally even laying a brick wall to prevent the reader from advancing further. But nothing works (primarily because from the reader's POV these are simple illustrations, not actual difficulties).
Finally driven to total despair by the reader's ability to "overcome" the obstacles, Grover makes one last frantic plea to the reader not to turn the final page...
...Only to discover on that page, in a surprise self-referential plot twist, that the monster in question is none other than Grover himself. He tries to laugh it off, saying he knew it all along--but the reader can see at the end that he is terribly embarrassed.
Originally written to introduce young children to the concept of reading a book from beginning to end, The Monster at the End of This Book is the best-selling Sesame Street book title of all time. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children." It came in at #10 in the School Library Journal's 2012 poll of the "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time.
Sequels and adaptations
Two direct sequels were produced, also written by Stone and Illustrated by Smollin. Would You Like To Play Hide and Seek with Lovable, Furry Old Grover? (ISBN 978-0394832920), was published in 1976, while Another Monster at the End of This Book: Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover, and Equally Lovable, Furry Little Elmo (ISBN 0-375-80562-1), was published in 1996. The latter features Grover now coping with Elmo actually encouraging the reader to turn the pages out of sheer curiosity.
Sesame Workshop released the original story as an audio-enabled eBook on December 7, 2009, though it is no longer available.
In other media
- A season four episode of Supernatural is called "The Monster at the End of This Book." In it, lead characters Dean and Sam discover a prophet has made a book series about their lives, including events to come.
- Animated series Johnny Bravo spoofed the concept in an episode called "The Hunk at the End of This Cartoon", wherein Johnny tried to keep the cartoon from ending because there was supposedly a hunk at the end of it that wasn't him.
- A reference to the books is made in the webcomics Dinosaur Comics and Sheldon.
- National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Bird, Elizabeth (July 6, 2012). "Top 100 Picture Books #10: The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone, illustrated by Mike Smollin". School Library Journal "A Fuse #8 Production" blog. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Trachtenberg, Jeffrey (December 7, 2009). "Sesame Workshop Plans Children's E-Books". The Wall Street Journal.
- Jules Sherred. "Geekmom: There is a MONSTER at the end of this Twitter conversation.". Wired.com. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
- "Dinosaur Comics - March 2nd, 2004 - awesome fun times!". Qwantz.com. 2004-03-02. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- "Sheldon® Comic Strip: Daily Webcomic by Dave Kellett". Sheldoncomics.com. Retrieved 2012-10-01.