Ten Creepy Monsters



Not-too-scary counting book with a friendly twist.

What parents need to know

Educational value

A good counting book for those still learning their numbers and basic subtraction. Reflects the common lore about the cast of spooky creatures: The vampire runs away when he sees the sunrise, the werewolf stops to howl at the moon, the creature from the lagoon is smitten by a girl, etc.

Positive messages

It's fun to hang out with monsters, especially if you get to go home to your own safe bed at the end of the night.

Positive role models

The little boy makes an adventurous choice to spend the evening with monsters, but is responsible enough to come home at get to bed. All of the monsters look scary but act nice and fun-loving.

Violence & scariness

The zombie's foot falls off. The scarecrow runs away from the campire, scared he'll go up in flames. The hunchback ghoul stomps too hard when he's dancing on and falls through the wood floor. A witch turns into a frog.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Ten Creepy Monsters takes the classic "and then there were none" countdown ditty and gives it a spooky theme with hauntingly familiar characters and a sweet twist at the end. Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis' art is just gruesome enough to work as a Halloween book without being too scary. Mishaps are played for laughs, like when a zombie can't go on with the group after his foot falls off. 

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What's the story?

In a seasonal variation on the classic \"and then there were none\" counting ditty, a group of TEN CREEPY MONSTERS -- including a vampire, werewolf, witch, ghost, zombie, mummy, and a lagoon creature -- goes off on a nighttime adventure and, one by one, they drop off. The twist is the last one turns out to be a human boy, who comes home, takes off his monster mask, tucks himself into bed, clutching his stuffed toy monster, with a bag of Halloween candy spilled on the floor.

Is it any good?


The rhymes are clever and the intrigue mounts with verses like this one about the werewolf: "Eight creepy monsters gazed up at heaven,/ One stopped to howl, and then there were seven." Even though the story line is simple, there's a lot of action and comedy on the page, with distinctive characters doing a combination of mundane and scary stuff. And Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis' illustrations are exceptional, with many fun details that grown-ups will pick up on, like the vampire carrying a Bates Motel towel to the beach for a swim, an allusion to the classic film Psycho.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why it's fun to dress up like monsters. What's the scariest Halloween costume you've worn or seen?

  • Who's your favorite Halloween character? Why?

  • What's your favorite scary book or movie? What's fun about being scared?

Book details

Author:Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis
Illustrator:Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis
Topics:Holidays, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Numbers and letters, Ocean creatures
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Abrams Books for Young Readers
Publication date:October 1, 2012
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7
Read aloud:4 - 7
Read alone:5 - 7
Available on:Hardback

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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