Even before I learned to read, I had a passion for books. If I couldn’t find anyone with spare time to read me a story, I would flip through my favorite books looking at the pictures, wishing I could just read it on my own. I can remember the exhilaration I felt when I read my very first book, all by myself. In fact, I can even remember the title of the book. It was a Little Golden Book called “The Monster at the End of this Book” starring “Loveable, Furry Old Grover”. I guess even back then I had a thing for monsters.
“The Monster at the End of this Book” might very well be the closest thing to horror for a pre-Kindergarten reader. In addition to a key element of suspense, the main character, Grover, is genuinely frightened. To alleviate the growing tension of drawing nearer to his inevitable encounter with the monster, our protagonist concocts humorous and increasingly ridiculous methods meant to keep the reader from turning the page. Because the book is meant for children, it does end have a happy ending but at the heart of the story, children learn that their own imaginations can fan the flames of fear.Through the years, my affinity for monsters has grown. I no longer need a funny, happy ending for my monster tales but I had the privilege of buying the same book for my youngest nephew last year. Perhaps he will develop a fondness for monster stories too. Many thanks to Jon Stone for fostering a lifelong love of monsters in me!