Friday, April 23, 2010

Monster Nonfiction for Kids - Oh, my!

One of my current super secret projects has a little something to do with monsters. (Oh, my!) In a quest to hunt out a vast array of curious creatures, I scurried over to my local library to find some fact-filled nonfiction books on the subject of monsters. While ravaging the bookshelves, I pondered a few things about monsters and books about them. (By the way, I didn't ravage the bookshelves --- just a little too into the theme.)

1.  Are monsters fiction or nonfiction? If they can be found in the nonfiction shelves, does that make monsters real? At my library, I found one title shelved in fiction, and, in another library, the same book was shelved in nonfiction. One of my favorite monster books is Everything I Know About Monsters by Tom Lichtenheld. Tom writes "The most important thing I know about monsters is that there really are no such things!... But, monsters DO exist in our imaginations." Don't you just love our imaginations?

2.  How scary is too scary for kids? I don't have an answer - just a thought. So, I'm wondering if this wise group of INK contributors and readers of this blog have some comments to share. From my experience, I think some of the nonfiction books about monsters would have scared the heck out of my daughter, now a graduating senior. Of course, the picture book that all three of my kids had to have read to them every night was The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone (author) and Michael Smollin (illustrator). 
And, in writing this, I discovered that there's a new book:
Another Monster at the End of This Book   
by Jon Stone (author) and Michael Smollin (illustrator)
(I think I found a great addition to add to my favorite "new baby" gift, aka basket full o' books.) 

(Sorry, back to the subject at claw... I mean, hand.)
3. Where does a green-haired 1,000 pound three-eyed monster sleep?*

A few good general reference nonfiction books I found were:
Encyclopedia horrifica : the terrifying truth! about vampires, ghosts, monsters, and more  
Scholastic 2007
by Joshua Gee
Monster hunt : the guide to cryptozoology
Sterling 2008
by Rory Storm
What a beast! : a look-it-up guide to the monsters and mutants of mythology! 
Franklin Watts/ Scholastic 2010
by Sophia Kelly
Monsterology: The Complete Book of Monstrous Beasts
Candlewick 2009
by Dr. Ernest Drake
I found this book shelved in both fiction and nonfiction.

*Answer to question #3: Anywhere he wants to!

In writing this post, I think I answered my own questions. Adding humor to books about monsters might make them seem just a little less scary. But, you still might need some monster spray at night --- a spritz under the bed and a sprinkle into the closet should do the trick... at least it did in my house.


Vicki Cobb said...

Anna, kids love monsters from a safe distance. Years ago I wrote a book called The Monsters Who Died: A Mystery About Dinosaurs. The popularity of dinosaurs addresses two very important issues of kids--superlatives and a threat to life. Dinosaurs, the ultimate monsters, were very, very big and very, very dead. That's what makes them the champions of monsters.

TinyReader said...

Monsters are a favorite topic of kids of all ages!

Anna M. Lewis said...

Wow, very interesting comment about dinosaurs... I guess nothing's better than a dead monster! Great perspective.

Go monsters! Thanks for your comment.