By Ed Emberley
Recommended Ages: 3-6
Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley is a wondrous creation. From it’s unmatched die-cut illustration to its descriptive language, no book is in greater demand with preschoolers come October. The tale, centered around a “scary” multihued monster, enables language exploration (for those B&L enthusiasts: existence, nonexistence, attribution), capturing interest brilliantly. This tale proves perfect for preschoolers who are developing early functional language skills (e.g., bye, all gone), learning facial features, and expanding basic vocabulary, all the while building exposure to novel descriptive language. Try incorporating the following expansion techniques to create a more interactive learning through literacy experience.
- Start by introducing the book. Read the title with a spooky voice. Then read the title a few more times substituting the word “monster” for a different item (e.g., go away, big green apple). Change your voice to match the substitution word. This typically elicits loads of laughter and an exclamatory response (e.g., “No!” or “No, monster!”).
- Ask your child to identify the title of the book and the illustration on the cover. Can your child tell you what’s “silly” about this illustration? Ask your child whether monsters are real. Ask whether they are fake. Can your child make a “scary monster face?”
- Is your child able to identify specific words in the book’s title by recognizing and connecting the beginning sounds/letters?
- Introduce the book’s title page to your child. Ask your child which page the story begins on.
- As the facial features emerge, leave off the feature and see if your child can fill in the blank (e.g., big green monster has two big yellow _____). Is your child able to point to his/her/your coinciding feature?
- Encourage your child to guess at which feature comes next. If it’s your child’s first time reading the story, give clues (e.g., “oh, this next feature helps you smell”).
- As the features are “going away” can your child supply the language to narrate some of the later pages in the book (e.g., “go away yellow eyes” or “bye-bye hair”)?
- After the story is complete, can your child identify what the book is about? If assistance is required, turn to a salient illustration.
- Play time! Play a game of Simon Says incorporating facial features (e.g., nose, mouth, teeth, ears). For a more advanced version, supply descriptions of features (e.g., “Simon says, show me what you see with”).
- More play! Create your own Big Green Monster mask out of construction paper. Start out by supplying a green circle and see if your child can request the features he/she desires (e.g., “I want purple nose” or “I need little ears”).