Literature: The Monster at the End of This Book
The Monster at the End of this Book is a classic Sesame Street picture book written by Jon Stone and illustrated by Mike Smollin. It consists entirely of Grover pleading with the reader, more and more desperately, to stop reading the book — because he's read the title page and is afraid of monsters.In 1996, a sequel was published, titled Another Monster at the End of This Book, in which Grover is joined by Elmo. There, Grover again attempts to stop the reader from making it to the end of the book, while Elmo encourages the reader to continue reading.It can be read here.See We Are in a Book! (an entry in the Elephant & Piggie series) for another children's book with a similar narrative concept.
Tropes featured include:
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Due to Grover's attempts to hold pages together with rope, nails, and bricks.Grover: Do you know that every time you turn another page, you not only get us closer to the MONSTER at the end of this book, but you make a terrible mess!
- End of Series Awareness: Grover can tell that the end of the book is coming, and gets more and more frightened about it.
- Face Palm: Grover does this when the reader doesn't listen to him and turns the page.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Grover warns the reader not to finish the book, as they will surely be devoured by the monster. He's wrong.
- This book is also a rare example where this trope is inverted. Grover keeps trying to stop the reader from turning pages, but the fourth wall does not protect him.
- Hypocritical Humor: After spending most of the book terrified of the monster, Grover discovers that he's the monster and immediately admonishes the reader for being so afraid.
—Grover: "Oh, I am so embarrassed..."
- At the very end, though:
- Large Ham: not in the book, but a proper reading of the book to small children is far better if the reader hams it up.
- Medium Awareness
- Minimalist Cast: Nobody but Grover appears in the book. No-one else at all.
- No Fourth Wall: None whatsoever; Grover spends the entire book addressing the reader.
- Painting the Medium: Grover goes to greater and greater lengths to keep the reader from turning the page (as he's afraid of the monster at the end of the book). He ties the pages together, attempts to nail them down, and builds a brick wall, all to no avail.
- Post Modernism — for 3 year olds!
- Prophecy Twist/Tomato in the Mirror: Grover is the monster.
- The Stinger: "Oh, I am so embarrassed."
- Super Strength: When the reader 'pulls down' his brick wall by turning the page, on the next one they find a defeated Grover prone and muttering "Did you know that you are very strong?"
- "Where? Where?": The book as a whole is an extended version.
- Written Sound Effect: "BONK BAM BING KLONK BONK BING!" as Grover attempts to hammer the pages together to keep the reader from turning them.
- You Meaniehead: Grover gets very upset with the reader.