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 (or simply The Monster at the End of This Book) is a 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 Little 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 book's title, 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 the monster.
Growing increasingly fearful as the story continues, Grover constructs a series of obstacles in hopes of preventing the reader from reading further, such as tying pages together, nailing one page to the next one and building a large brick wall, but nothing works (mostly because these are really simple illustrations, not actual obstacles).
Near the end of the book, Grover makes one last frantic plea not to turn the final page, only to discover on that page, in a surprise self-referential plot twist, that the monster is himself. He tries to laugh it off, saying that he knew it all along, but the reader can see at the end that he is quite embarrassed by the whole ordeal.
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 listed the book as one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". In 2012 it was ranked number ten among the "Top 100 Picture Books" in a survey published by School Library Journal.
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.
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 was not him. It turned out to be a large piece of cheese being chased by mice.
- A reference to the books is made in the webcomics Dinosaur Comics and Sheldon.
- The book is referenced by Jimmy Fallon (impersonating Jim Morrison of The Doors) in his cover version of the theme to the PBS series Reading Rainbow.
- 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". A Fuse #8 Production. Blog. School Library Journal (blog.schoollibraryjournal.com). Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Jules Sherred. "Geekmom: There is a MONSTER at the end of this Twitter conversation". Wired.com. Retrieved 2014-10-11.
- "Dinosaur Comics - March 2nd, 2004 - awesome fun times!". Qwantz.com. March 2, 2004. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- "Sheldon® Comic Strip: Daily Webcomic by Dave Kellett". Sheldoncomics.com. Retrieved 2012-10-01.