Even Monsters Need Haircuts

Written and Illustrated by: Matthew McElligiott

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations

This little boy has a very peculiar night job that puts him in the company of skeletons, vampires and mummies. After all, even monsters need haircuts! Before you read about what it's like to be a monster's barber, take some time to talk to your child about what this story might bring. Make observations and predictions and tie in your child's own experiences before diving into the story. Ask questions like:

Make Observations

What do you notice on the cover?

Whose hair is the boy cutting?

Make Predictions

What kinds of monsters do you think will be in this story? Will they be scary? Funny? Big?

How do you think this little boy became a barber for monsters?

Why is the boy making that face? What do you think he is thinking?

Ask About Your Child's Hair

Do you like getting your hair cut? Why or why not?

What's your favorite hairstyle? Do you like your hair really big and curly? Long and straight? Cut really short?

As You Read

There are so many fun and interesting things to explore in the illustrations, so help your child appreciate them. As you read the story together, ask your child what s/he notices in each illustration and discuss why the illustrator may have included those elements. For example, when all of the monsters are hiding from the "human" customer, work together to find all of the monsters that are hiding in the shop. Describe where each one is hiding and ask, "Why do you think the monsters are hiding? How do you think the customer would react if s/he saw the monsters?"


Make Connections

Help your child to make connections within the text, as well as connections that tie the text to the real world. To make connections within the text, ask your child questions like, "What kinds of barber supplies do you think his father needed for his human customers? Why do you think the boy needs different supplies like shamp-ewww and horn polish?" To make real world connections, you can say things like, "That skeleton is holding a cup of coffee. Did you know that we all have skeletons in us? A skeleton is all of the bones in your body. This skeleton doesn't have a stomach, so where would the coffee go if he poured it in his mouth? It would go all over the floor!" 

Be sure to keep an eye out for the special details that the illustrator includes like how the vampire doesn't have a reflection in the barber's mirror or how they change the paintings on the walls to display pictures that are more similar to these nighttime clients. 


Vocabulary Building

Give the names of all of the monsters that you know, and any background information that may come along with them. For example, say "This is a CYCLOPS. A CYCLOPS only has one eye" or "This is MEDUSA. Why do you think the boy is wearing a blindfold while braiding her hair? It's actually because if you look directly at her, you will turn into stone!" Try to incorporate a few instructional words into your discussion. For example, say, "Let's COMPARE these two monsters. How are these monsters the same? How are they different? They are both big and furry, but this one is short and this one is tall."

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret

Ask your child questions like these to ensure comprehension and gauge what your child learned from the story:

What was your favorite part of the story? Why?

Which was your favorite illustration?

Why do you think the boy liked to cut monsters' hair?

Why did he only work at nighttime during a full moon?

Why did the monsters have to hide when they thought a human had come to the shop?

Are these monsters the same or different than what you think a monster looks like?

Extended Learning Exploration

Source: Jen Spends

Supplies: scissors, paper, markers, shredded packing paper and newspaper strips, and glue


Help your child create his own monster barbershop! Create some monster clients, determine prices and make your own jingle and you're well on your way to creating a successful business!

  1. Let your child draw and color his/her own monsters.
  2. Glue the ends of the small strips of newspaper or shredded packing paper to the heads of your monsters and let them dry.
  3. Once they are all dry, let your child go to work cutting each monster's hair!


STEM Extension

Figure out what you could make in one night as a monster barber. Depending on your child's math level, come up with different combinations of clients and help him/her add up all of the profits that s/he would make if s/he cut all of their hair. Use the pricing list below or modify it as you see fit. You can start out simple by saying, "We get paid 2 dollars for a skeleton's haircut and 3 dollars for a cyclops' haircut. If we had one skeleton and one cyclops come in, how much would we make? That's right, we'd make 5 dollars." You can then increase the difficulty of the questions as you see fit. 

Skeleton: $2

Cyclops: $3

Vampire: $4

Furry Monster: $5

(Source: Illinois School Library Media Association)


Make A Jingle!

Now that you've got the pricing squared away, come up with a fun jingle for your shop. Come up with a few lyrics, a catchy tune and there you have it! Now you can promote your monster barbershop whenever you like!

(Source: Illinois School Library Media Association)