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.
|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?'|
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 to the reader, 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, claiming that he knew it all along, but the reader can see at the end that he is quite embarrassed by the whole ordeal.
Jon Stone was involved in the creation and early development of the show Sesame Street. He reportedly wrote The Monster at the End of This Book around the end of 1970 or early the following year while on a flight across the United States to California. At the time, Sesame Street was airing its second season. Michael Smollin, a former advertising executive, illustrated the book. The Monster at the End of This Book was first published in 1971 by Little Golden Books. Copies first sold for 39 cents. The musician Christopher Cerf, who wrote songs for Sesame Street later told The Washington Post that upon reading the manuscript he said "Oh my god, this is wonderful".
The book was an instant success.
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.
As of January 2021 the book had sold almost 13 million copies, making it one of the ten best-selling Little Golden Books. The author Danny Freedman wrote a column that month in The Washington Post describing the book as "an unlikely constant, at a rarefied height" and felt that "the book’s long tail of influence is out of proportion with its 24 pages and its cardboard cover devoid of medallions."
The expert on children's literature Leonard S. Marcus described the book as an important point in children's fiction as it led to further innovation in the field, inspiring other self-aware works of literature like The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. According to Philip Nel, a professor of children's literature, the book's publication method and connection to television might be the reason it has attracted relatively little scholarly attention.
Sequels and adaptationsEdit
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.
An app based on the book downloaded over 500,000 times as of January 2021.
In other mediaEdit
- 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.
- Freedman, Danny (January 27, 2021). "50 years later, 'The Monster at the End of This Book' is still selling — and inspiring authors". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
- National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Archived from the original on January 7, 2010. 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.