Go Away Big Green Monster
Publisher: Little Brown and Company, 1992
Interest Level: K-2
Ed Emberley's Go Away Big Green Monster enables the child to confront a monster slowly one feature at a time. Using die-cut black pages Emberley builds the features of a monster's face page by page: two yellow eyes, then a big long bluish greenish nose, then a big red mouth with sharp white teeth and on to a big green scary face. The child systematically builds each feature of the monster’s face one feature at a time by turning the page. He can stop at any point the monster becomes overwhelmingly scary. He can then make the monster's
face go away one feature at a time. The last two pages of the book read: "GO AWAY, Big Green Monster and DON'T COME BACK! Until I say so." Those last four words are the key to the value of this book. The child reading the book (or having the book read to him) is clear that he is in charge of the monster and his fear. The experience of this book for some children will be similar to the person who is afraid of water. If someone threatens to throw them into the water, they panic. However, if they are allowed to go into the water up to their ankles, then their knees, and then their waist, stopping at each stage to get comfortable; they build confidence that they can face and master their fear.
Emberley followed this book with Nighty Night, Little Green Monster. The little green monster's face is also built one feature at a time. Unlike Big Green Monster this little monster has a little red smiley mouth with one tiny tooth. After building the complete face, the child says nighty night to each feature. The last page reads: "Sweet Dreams." Using this book before Go Away Big Green Monster might just add another step to allow a child to build confidence before facing a really scary monster. The two books together enable parents to suggest to children ways of slowly confronting some of their other fears like giving that oral book report to parents or other trusted adults before having to face an entire classroom.