Rediscovered Families

Have Fun With “Leonardo the Terrible Monster.”

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Enjoy some "Leonardo the Terrible Monster" activities, crafts and play. This popular book by Mo Williams is a huge hit with children. On of my favorite activities is to read  books to young children. I like it even better when I can use the book as a springboard into all kinds of activities and play. To show you what I mean let me introduce you to a very popular picture book in our library, Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems

Leonardo is a terrible monster. He’s terrible at scaring people that is. No matter how hard Leonardo tries he can’t scare anyone. One day Leonardo has a great idea. He searches for the biggest scaredy-cat kid he can find. Finally he can scare the tuna salad out of someone! But scaring people doesn’t make Leonardo feel good. That’s when he makes a big decision. Instead of being a terrible monster he would become a really good friend.

Children obviously enjoy this book. The simple cartoons and text make for a perfectly paced story. I love the way it is printed in large letters that change color for emphasis.

When you are reading

You can have a lot of fun reading this book. It is such a silly story, so enjoy it and use your voice to bring it to life. It’s easy to know which words to emphasize, because they are highlighted in a different color.

The characters in this book make some wonderful faces. Invite your children to make some of the faces. Encourage them to repeat some of the funnier phrases like, “And scare the tuna salad out of him!”

Some questions to ask as you go along

  • Why do you think Leonardo wanted to scare someone?
  • Why do you think Leonardo couldn’t scare anyone?
  • What do you think he should do?
  • How do you think Leonardo will scare Sam?
  • Why is Sam not scared by Leonardo?

After the Story

If you want to do have some more fun together try these ideas

1. Have fun trading “BOOS” with your child.

2. Make scary monster faces.

3. Sing a monster song. When I read this book to the preschoolers at story time I found a number of finger plays and monster songs to use, but this one was my favorite:

If You’re a Monster and You Know It (Tune: If You’re Happy and You Know It)

If you’re a monster and you know it show your claws.
If you’re a monster and you know it show your claws.
If you’re a monster and you know then your claws will surely show it.
If you’re a monster and you know it show your claws.
Continue with:
…gnash your teeth
…stomp your feet
…growl out loud

4. Enjoy a monster craft. For our craft we were inspired by the Halloween sun catchers at Happy Hooligans. I adapted this idea to make monster bags.

Having Fun With "Leonardo the Terrible Monster."

We squeezed a big glob of hair gel into sealable plastic bags and the children added googly eyes and ribbon to make a mouth. We then sealed the bag shut (push the air out first). The children mashed and squished the contents around until they were satisfied. They enjoyed pushing around the hair gel and proudly displayed their completed monster faces. It’s messy play without the mess!

5. The next time I use this book I will try using this fun idea from Candace Ryan and use the illustrations as a fun photo booth prop. I know the children will enjoy seeing their pictures afterwards.

Having Fun With "Leonardo the Terrible Monster."

I would recommend that you check this book out of your local library. However, if you want your own copy you can buy it here (affiliate link).

If you read this book with your preschooler please leave me a comment. Did your children like the book? What part did they like best? Do you have any other monster related activities to suggest?

8 thoughts on “Have Fun With “Leonardo the Terrible Monster.””

  1. I haven’t seen this one by Mo Willems, even though he’s one of my favorite children’s book authors. We’ll definitely be looking for it at the library though!

    1. Sharon Harding

      We are all Mo Willems fans at the library. When a new one arrives all work stops for a few minutes, so we can read it!

  2. I love how you introduced many of us to a new book and then took it so much farther with fantastic ideas for connecting with our kids over it. Beautifully done! Thanks for linking up at Booknificent Thursday this week!
    Tina

  3. That sounds like a great book. We love doing activities from the book we read, especially imaginary play.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

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