The Best Picture Books about Not-So-Scary Monsters

shelved under Children's Books

Monsters are scary for young children, but these books star monsters that turn out to be not so scary, after all. Reading them can be a fun way to triumph over the scary monsters at your house.


Where the Wild Things Are

illustrated by Maurice Sendak

This book was controversial when it came out — adults thought that Max was too badly behaved and his monsters were too scary. But generations of young children know best — this book connects perfectly with a young child's fears and his ability to conquer them.


Go Away, Big Green Monster!

by Edward R. Emberley

Emberly has created a monster out of cutouts, layered so that every time you turn the page, another part of him disappears, while your preschooler gets to shout, "Go away, bushy eyebrows!" and so on. Very satisfying for young children.


The Monster at the End of This Book

by Jon Stone, illustrated by Michael Smollin

I normally don't like books that come from TV shows, but this one is a huge exception. The Monster at the End of This Book is one of the best picture books of all time. The protagonist, Grover learns there is a monster at the end of the book by peeking at the title (breaking the fourth wall!). Terrified, he goes to ever-more-desperate and hilarious lengths to keep you from turning the pages. But when you get to the end, there is indeed a monster, but an unexpected twist makes it all OK.


There's a Nightmare in My Closet

by John D. Fitzgerald

Mercer Mayer handles fear of the dark and monsters with empathy and humor. Like the other books in this list, the protagonist conquers the monster, once again in an unexpected way.