Leonardo the Terrible Monster

Written By: Mo Willems

Before Reading

Enjoy looking at the cover and illustrations with your child. Bring your child’s attention to different things in the illustrations on the cover and in the book by asking:

Do you see Leonardo’s head?

How does Leonardo look in this picture? Do you think he is happy or sad?

Is there a boy in our story?

Is the boy happy or sad?

Give your child time to point to the different characters and items on the cover and various pages  that are of interest. You can comment on what you see as well. For example, you can say, “Wow, that monster has so many teeth! Do you see all those teeth on that monster?” You can also ask your child about what other monsters they know. Some examples include Sesame Street monsters like Elmo or the Cookie Monster.

As You Read

There aren’t that many words in this story so have fun by making your voice really animated! Your little one will love it when you read with lots of energy and use different voices and facial expressions. For example, when Leonardo tries to scare Sam, give each of them a different voice and alternate between the two when you are reading their dialogue and really act out each part. 

Make Predictions

At different points in the story, ask your child to make predictions about what will happen next. For example, when Leonardo sees Sam crying and has a big decision to make, ask your child, “What do you think that Leonardo is going to do?” You can also ask your child about the character’s motives by asking, “Why do you think that Leonardo did that?” If your child is not yet verbal, you can still ask the question, but in a less direct way by saying, “I wonder what Leonardo will do next?” or “I think Leonardo did that because he was sad. Do you think he looks sad?”

After Reading 

Summarize. Once you get to the end of the book, it may be helpful to do a recap of the story and what happened for younger children. You can ask them questions about parts of the story by asking, “Did Leonardo become friends with Sam at the end of the story?” For older children, you can ask, “ Why did Leonardo think that he wasn’t a good monster in the beginning?” 

Other questions to ask include:

What was your favorite picture?

Was Leonardo happy at the end of the story?

Was Sam happy at the end of the story?

Make it more interactive by pretending to be Leonardo and trying to scare each other. You can take turns and each try to scare the other with your scariest “Boo!”


Activity: Paper Bag Monster Puppets [Source: DLTK Crafts for Kids]


Supplies: paper lunch bags, paint or paper in your choice of color, a printer, crayons, scissors, and glue.

Your child can make her very own monster puppet to play with at home and practice scaring techniques, just like Leonardo! You can set up the project for your child by printing and cutting out the blank templates of the body parts and pre-gluing the colored paper to the paper lunch bag and letting it dry. Make it even easier by using the color version of the templates and let your child focus on gluing the body parts together onto the lunch bag. It’s ok if the parts aren’t exactly in the right place, it’s a monster after all! 

  1. Assembling Your Monster
  2. Glue teeth onto the back side of the flap of the bag. 
  3. Glue the mouth underneath the flap.
  4. Glue the ears behind the head.
  5. Glue the hair at the top of the head.
  6. Glue the eyes onto the head under the hair ( or you can use wiggly eyes instead of the templates).
  7. Glue the nose under the eyes.
  8. Glue the belt onto the body.
  9. Glue the arms into the flap. 4 arms are included in the template but you can on as few or as many as you want. 
  10. Glue the tail onto the back of the body. 


Reading Tips

Read it Over and Over!

Children’s books are great to read again and again. On subsequent readings, your child will likely notice different things in the story that you may have not noticed before. Also, reading a story several times can help to reinforce vocabulary that your child may have learned in a previous reading. 

Read it and Experience it.

Help your child connect to what they are reading to real life. For example, if you are reading a book about animals, relate the story to your last trip to the zoo or head over to the zoo for a visit.