A lot or a little?
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this delightful TV special is the animated version of Sesame Street's beloved classic The Monster at the End of this Book. While the overall storyline is the same as the book, the longer format dives deeper into Grover's feelings and gives preschoolers practical tips for how to find courage when they feel afraid. Grover shows mild fear throughout the episode, but he's never in any real danger, so this special is great for most kids.
What's the story?
This special follows in the same general footsteps as the book it's based on, The Monster at the End of this Book. Grover learns that there's a monster at the end of the story he's in, and he tries to do everything possible to prevent himself from meeting this scary monster. Like in the book, Grover breaks the 4th wall and implores the viewer not to keep watching because otherwise, he'll see the monster! But there are some very fun TV-specific gags in this version, like the magical rewind button (if he rewinds the story far enough, he'll never see the monster). Throughout the show, other Sesame Street friends join Grover and help him sort through the fear he's feeling. He sings a song with Elmo about what fear feels like in your body. Rosita, Cookie Monster, and Abby Cadabby sing a song about how courage can help you try new things. They encourage him to keep traveling to the end of the story and meet the monster. He finally faces his fears and (spoiler alert) realizes that he has been the monster the whole time.
Is it any good?
The Monster at the End of this Story will exceed expectations and delight kids. Grown-ups can put aside their own fears that this special would be a obvious attempt to squeeze 30 minutes of material from an excellent children's book. While it still has a lot of silly stuff preschoolers love, the social emotional lessons featured in this version elevate it beyond entertainment. The characters spend a lot of time teaching kids about fear -- that it's okay to be afraid, what fear feels like, and how usually the thing you're scared of ends up being not that scary.
The characters show very relatable examples of times when they feel afraid, like Cookie Monster overcoming his fear of broccoli. They talk about how proud they feel when they use courage to try something new. They teach kids two basic mindfulness techniques to help them allay their fears and summon their courage. Grover helps give preschoolers the language they need to talk about big feelings. And as this special premiered in the middle of a global pandemic, it gives kids and grown-ups alike timely tools to help with the unknown monsters on the horizon.
Talk to your kids about ...
Do you remember the two things the Sesame characters said to do when you need courage? (Spoiler alert: Take a deep breath, talk to yourself and remind yourself "you can do it!")
Did Grover need to be so scared about the monster at the end of the story? Is there anything that is scary to you in real life that your family can help you find courage for?
Grover got more courage by thinking of all the times he had courage before. Can you think of any times when you were afraid of doing something, but you did it anyway?
- Premiere date: October 29, 2020
- Cast: Eric Jacobson, Ryan Dillon, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, David Rudman, Carmen Osbahr, Stephanie D'Abruzzo
- Network: HBO Max
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Character strengths: Courage
- TV rating: TV-Y
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: October 14, 2021
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