I don’t really have any memories of picture books from when I was I child, but now I have become a fan. I have two nephews that love when I read them books, and to be honest, sometimes I think I enjoy some books even more than they do. The greatest example of these wonderful books for me is the one called “The MONSTER at the end of this book” written by Jon Stone and illustrated by Mike Smollin, a combination of creativity, humor, color and interaction. The story is about Sesame St’s Grover, who is afraid of a monster that is apparently at the end of the book and therefore doesn’t want the reader to turn the pages. Even though he tries to stop the reader from turning the pages in several ways, the reader gets to the end of the book, where Grover discovers that he is the monster himself, and therefore there was nothing to be afraid of, so embarrassing. The book’s images are drawn in perspective with fine lines, creating a detailed landscape and texture of the character but keeping the cartoon style. The pages have a small amount of whitespace overall and the usage of warm and highly saturated colors is common, giving energy and intensity to the story. For example, in the following image (page 1) we can see that some parts of the text are in intense colors and bigger sizes, to emphasize them, to give them a mood, of surprise, of astonishment. The word “monster” is in red through the whole text in order to highlight it, expressing the concern and fear the character has for it. Besides, fine repetitive lines surround Grover to show movement, and how he is shaking.
Something that really called my attention from this book is the way it uses metanarrative, since Grover expresses that he knows he is inside of a book. Not only he talks about being in a book but we can actually see pages drawn in the illustration and we can see him interacting with them differently in every spread.
In this picture, the different font sizes and styles establish a hierarchy, causing the reader to almost perceive the volume at which the monster is talking in each sentence.
Visual objects are mostly vertical, making it more exciting and active, showing Gover’s adrenaline due to his desire to avoid the reader to turn the pages, and of course, causing the opposite. When Grover asks the reader to not turn the page he raises his curiosity, making him want to turn the page to finally see the scary monster and Grover’s reaction. Through his process of interaction with the pages the illustration starts to include cracks on the pages and broken pieces of materials Grover uses to impede the reader’s progress, as if the book was literally decayed in a three dimensional appearance.
This is an entertaining book, for both adults and children, it’s colorful, funny and the best of it is that it really keeps you curiously reading until the end.