Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Book Review: If You’re a Monster and You Know It, by Rebecca & Ed Emberley (Orchard Books, 2010)

If-You-re-a-Monster-and-You-Know-It-9780545218290Recommended for ages 2-5

The classic song “If You’re Happy and You Know It” gets a monster makeover from Rebecca Emberley and her father, Caldecott Award winner Ed Emberley.

Caregivers have taught toddlers and preschoolers that song, “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, for years. Rebecca and Ed Emberley put a fun, new spin on a familiar song by incorporating monsters, with all of the snorts, growls, wiggles and roars that go with them. Most children will be familiar with the tune, so slotting in new, fun, silly words and actions will be easy and exciting. The neon-bright, digitally created monsters pop off the black page backgrounds, appearing to almost pop off the page. The story font is a bright green for easy reading, but small and almost comic-like in appearance. The action words – stomp, snort, growl, wiggle, roar – are large, brightly colored, and appear to be digitally rendered along with the rest of the artwork, providing an easy prompt for children to take action.


This would be a great interactive read-aloud for toddlers and preschoolers alike, especially for a fun Halloween storytime. There could be a mask-making workshop before the storytime, where participants can color in blank printouts and create their own monsters that will stomp and roar and twitch their tails during the reading. Ed Emberley’s website offers printable mask activities and other October activities that would work with a Halloween read-aloud. There are many fingerplays and songs to be sung during a Halloween storytime; plus, the book comes with a link to a free, downloadable version of the song from the Scholastic website that can be played for a full-on monster dance party.

The authors have further resources on their websites (, for more printable, downloadable activities.

The book has received several accolades, including nomination for the Grand Canyon Reader Award and the Building Block Picture Book Award, and designation as an IRA Children’s Choice.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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