The Fourth: Analysis on “The Monster at the End of This Book”

A fourth wall refers to the invisible, imagined wall that separates the actors from the audience. Breaking the fourth wall means that the actors are aware of their fictitious existence and communicates directly with the audience. Jon Stone breaks the fourth wall in the construction of his children’s book,¬†The Monster at the End of This Book.

The story talks about a blue monster tries to stop the reader from turning the page and from seeing the monster at the end of the book. Because of this interaction, all illustrations cover two pages, as a physical barrier of page turning.

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In the picture shown above, the character literally builds a wall on these two pages of the book. The illustrator drew torn book edges on the edges of the page to depict the struggle between the character and the reader. The blue monster repeatedly tries to stop the reader from turning the page because, as acknowledged at the beginning, he does not want to see the monster at the end of the book. The wall is illustrated in three-dimensional, somewhat realistic style to convey both the broken fourth wall between the monster and the reader as well as the monster’s effort in preventing the reader from turning the page. And of course, that only instigates the reader’s curiosity to see what happens next. The author uses an interesting approach in guiding the audience toward the opposite of what the book seems to be saying and bringing some action into their reading experience.

The author uses a squiggly, funky font when the blue monster speaks to present the monster in a cute, monster-like way. He also uses pink and light blue enlarged/bolded fonts to highlight words the monster would emphasize on if reading out loud. The author uses a lot of warm colors in the book, including the threatening words in pink font, to portray the character in a friendly, approachable way, even though it is a monster.

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5 Responses to The Fourth: Analysis on “The Monster at the End of This Book”

  1. Michael McDonald says:

    I really like how the author creates the monster. The monster the whole time is scared and trying to help you (the reader) out by preventing the reader from continuing onto the next page. Each time the reader proves that they are stronger than he is and successfully turn the page. This allows the reader or at least the primary audience to pretend that they are very strong and take great pride in the fact that they could turn the page even thought there are obstacles in the way. This was definitely one of my favorite books that we pulled out in class.

  2. Andrea Guerrero Garcia says:

    I like how you point out the difference in the fonts used by the author when the monstar speaks, because that is a really effective technique to point out to the reader the difference in the speaker, and giving them hints about its personality and nature. In this case, the terrible writing illustrates the fact that, even though our character may be funny and even sweet in his fears, he is still, after all, a monster.
    It is also good that you comment on the three-dimensionality of the illustration because it gives the reader a feeling of proximity and connection with the action that is going on, as it helps draw you in. The fact that the picture book is coloured helps allure the reader and make them want to keep turning the page, not only to know what happens next but also to see the illustrations and how our monster wants to prevent you from turning.

  3. Margaret Royal says:

    What I like about this image is the way it can emphasize certain things. Like you said, when reading, you will put emphasis on certain words. I also find that my eye is drawn to certain aspects of the photo, but when I look at it more I see that there are more details. When I first look at the picture I notice Grover, because his colors stand out and contrast with the red brick. Then when I look more I notice all the other tools that stand out and the fact that he has cement on his head. took me a while to notice that the pages in the background appear to be ripped. The illustrator does a good job of adding detail so that every time the child reads the story they can notice something new. I think what this image does best is it shows action and emotion. The image to me conveys fear and desperation. I hope that we can create pictures for our book that can influence the readers and include an interesting background.

  4. Margaret Royal says:

    What I like about this image is the way it can emphasize certain things. Like you said, when reading, you will put emphasis on certain words. I also find that my eye is drawn to certain aspects of the photo, but when I look at it more I see that there are more details. When I first look at the picture I notice Grover, because his colors stand out and contrast with the red brick. Then when I look more I notice all the other tools that stand out and the fact that he has cement on his head. took me a while to notice that the pages in the background appear to be ripped. The illustrator does a good job of adding detail so that every time the child reads the story they can notice something new. I think what this image does best is it shows action and emotion. The image to me conveys fear and desperation. I hope that we can create pictures for our book that can influence the readers and include an interesting background.

  5. Amrit Bhatia says:

    This was a great example that we pulled up in class. Breaking the 4th wall and talking to the audience is a very interesting technique that is seen in many forms of adult media, such as “The Office” or “House of Cards”, but I have not seen it done for children until this book. This book stays consistent because all of the text is Grover’s dialogue to the audience. I suppose in a ways that this kept the audience’s attention because they felt like they were having a conversation with Grover directly, and they didn’t have to use their imaginations to ‘step into the main character’s shoes’ because they feel that they are the main character. The illustrations are also consistent with breaking the 4th wall because they complement nicely Grover’s dialogue. For example, in the page that you brought up, Grover is trying to seal the pages by ‘building a wall’, that way the reader can’t go on to the next page. By having these large pictures, the child feels more engrossed in the story, and may even feel compelled to try and turn the page to ‘break down the wall.’

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