Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Marilyn’s Monster

Phelan, Matt (Illustrator)
Candlewick Press 2015. 40 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9780763660116 (hardcover)
9780763693015 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Just because everyone else does things a certain way, it doesn’t mean you can’t try something new. That’s the key message in this quirky, feminist tale about a girl who isn’t afraid to go for what she wants.

Monsters are “the latest thing” in Marilyn’s class. Soon, everyone has one but her. And though she desperately wants a monster too, according to protocol, “You couldn’t just go out and get one. Your monster had to find you. That’s just the way it worked.”

Attractive pencil and watercolour illustrations depict benign monsters of all shapes and sizes befriending children in the library, park and classroom.

She waits patiently, telling herself her monster will show up, but when it doesn’t, she begins to worry it’s got something to do with her. Pretty pastels emphasize her innocence as she sits on a bench, all dolled up, hoping greater compliance will work: “She made sure she brushed her hair very carefully every morning and wore pretty clothes and smiled a lot and tried to look very friendly and interesting and smart and fun to be around. She tried to be the kind of girl no monster could resist.”

Yet, it’s only once Marilyn gets fed up and boldly seeks out her monster that she finally finds him. Readers will cheer as Marilyn breaks with tradition, emphasizing that girls needn’t be passive when it comes to finding joy.

  •  

    Children sometimes have imaginary friends and they often imagine scary monsters. Discuss why we create imaginary creatures.

  •  

    Stop reading when Marilyn screams, “Where are you?” In pairs, create a portrait of what you think her monster looks like. What qualities will it have? Compare monsters.

  •  

    Discuss where and how the monsters connect to the children. Draw your own monster with you in a place where you hope it might appear. Describe your monster, why it chose you and how it makes a difference in your life.

  •  

    Marilyn follows her heart and eventually finds her monster. In your reader-writer’s notebook, describe a personal situation (or one you know of) in which following your heart led to good things happening.

  •  As the book is read aloud, discuss the various settings.
  •  

    Describe the monsters and discuss how they connect to the children they have found.

  •  

    Stop reading when Marilyn screams, “Where are you?” In pairs, create a portrait of what you think her monster looks like. What qualities will it have? Compare monsters.

  •  

    Discuss how Marilyn is different from other children and follows her heart. 

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