The Monsters' Monster

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
The Monsters' Monster Book Poster Image
Frankenstein-like monster teaches his creators gratitude.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Could lead to (simplified) discussions of the classic Frankenstein story and why the story of creating a human-like monster has had such staying power in popular culture. 

Positive Messages

It's good to be kind, grateful, and say "thank you." Not all monsters are mean and scary. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The three little monsters complain, fight, throw tantrums, and say "no" a lot. But the big monster they create, presuming he'll be the "biggest, baddest monster EVER!," turns out to be kind, friendly, and full of gratitude. His first words are "dank you!" because he's grateful to be alive.

Violence & Scariness

The three little monsters smash, crash, and bash things and get in a brawl. The big monster comes to life after being struck by lightning. He smashes through a wall to get out of the castle.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Monsters' Monster offers a fun lesson in gratitude from the author-illustrator of the Caldecott Honor Book Me ... Jane and the creator of the syndicated Mutts cartoon strip. The big green-faced monster may look like Frankenstein, but he's kind and gentle, not scary, and he teaches the grouchy little monsters who created him the value of saying "thank you."

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What's the story?

Three little monsters -- Grouch, Grump, and the two-headed Gloom 'n' Doom -- argue over who's the \"biggest, baddest monster\" among them. Then they create a monster they think will be the biggest, baddest monster ever. But to their surprise, his first words are \"dank you!\" because he's so happy to be alive. And he goes on to teach them about gratitude.

Is it any good?

THE MONSTERS' MONSTER is sweet but not sappy, and, in a fun way, it contrasts the little monsters' bad attitudes and behavior with the big monster's open heart and gratitude for the gift of life. Patrick McDonnell's cartoon-like illustrations are easy to love, with lots of action and emotion in a simple palette of black, white, orange, and green, with a bit of blue. Kids may find it easier to remember to say "thank you" after this monstrously friendly story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why it's important to say "thank you." Do you always remember to say it when someone gives you something or does something nice for you?

  • How is the big monster in this story different from the Frankenstein you've seen in scary movies or stories?

  • What's fun about stories with monsters?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and gentle scares

Themes & Topics

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