Monsters book review

Last month I was fortunate to review a review copy of Monsters by Anna Fienberg for review from Allen and Unwin. I wrote a review of it on my book review blog, but given that it is a children’s book and I haven’t posted here for ages, I thought it might be fun to share some ways this wonderful children’s book could be used in the classroom.

Monsters tells the story of a young girl, Tildy, who is afraid of monsters that appear once the sun sets each night. She seeks the help of the adults in her life, only to be met with disbelief and dismissal. It’s not until she makes a new friend at school that she begins to overcome her fear and find compassion for her monsters.

So how could you use it in the classroom?


People often find it difficult or confronting to talk about the fears, but most children can be quite open – often because they’re trying to find ways to overcome them. (Obviously, you know your students or child and if this kind of conversation might be triggering for them, frame it in a way that would meet the needs of the children you’re working with.)

Discuss fears. Whether they’re the fears that students have or fears that they know other people have, make a list. Have students choose a fear and write or draw a picture about how they might overcome the fear they have chosen.


Discuss a time when a friend helped you overcome something that was bothering you. Whether it’s a fear, a difficult situation or a time when you were sad, what did your friend do to help you feel better?


Make monsters!

Choose an art style you’re comfortable with (or better yet, one you’re NOT comfortable with) and work with your students to make monsters. Use pencils, markers, paint, glitter, paper… the sky is the limit.

I’m partial to the method of adding blobs of paint and folding the paper in half and creating a squished-paint monster, because there’s a satisfying sensory experience for students squishing the paint.

Alternatively, I’ve made ‘Happiness Monsters’ using food dye and straws and blowing the food dye around the page then adding googly eyes and black markers to make the monster’s features.

Or, you could do as Tildy and Henrik do in the book – pair students up and have one child describe a monster and the other draw it. Then students swap roles.


I hope this gives you some ideas for how to incorporate books into your classroom for both resilience, friendship and fun.

Little Bookish Teacher 


Monsters is written by Anna Fienberg and illustrated by Kim Gamble and Stephen Axelsen. It was published in May 2018 by Allen and Unwin and retails for $24.99 AUD. This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.



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