After watching a series of videos of author and illustrator David Costello's creative process, use the lesson plans below to review the elements of a story with your students and help them write and illustrate their own stories.

When author and illustrator David Costello was looking for ideas for a new monster story, he turned to the experts — kids! For several weeks, Scholastic collected story ideas from students around the country. Now you can see how the author transformed those ideas into an exciting picture book: Mr. Allgunky and the Missing Monster!

How David Created His Story

Here is an outline of the steps David used to create his story:

  1. He chose the theme for the story. David Costello decided he wanted to write about monsters so he asked for your help.
  2. He then brainstormed characters with you on the discussion board.
  3. He visualized a setting for the characters.
  4. He outlined the events for the story.
  5. He created sketches that represented the beginning, middle, and end of his story.
  6. Finally, he pulled all the pieces together to create a complete, illustrated story.

Let's explore how he did it.

Watch Students' Ideas Become a Story

First, We Develop the Characters
Are there monsters lurking in your school? Some students imagined there might be, so those and other strange creatures were chosen as characters for our story.

Next, We Create a Storyboard
Based on the characters and students' other ideas, David Costello creates sketches that outline the plot and set the scene for the story.

Then We Sketch and Color the Illustrations
After planning out the ideas, the illustrator begins to transform the action into full-color drawings for a book.

Finally, We Have a Story!
View the video or print out a copy of the final story, Mr. Allgunky and the Missing Monster!

The Final Storybook: Mr. Allgunky and the Missing Monster

Print out a PDF version of the final story, Mr. Allgunky and the Missing Monster, for your students to read.

Examine Story Elements

Use the following graphic organizers to review the elements of a story with your students:

  • Map out the action of the story.
  • Discuss the traits of the final characters in the story.
  • Discuss the plot and conflicts within the story.
  • Create new stories about these monsters.

Create Your Own Story

Use the following steps and reproducibles to guide students through the creation of their own story.

  1. Choose a theme for your story. David Costello knew he wanted to write about monsters. What do you want to write about?
  2. Brainstorm characters.
  3. Visualize a setting for the characters.
  4. Outline the events for your story.
  5. Create sketches that represent the beginning, middle, and end of your story.
  6. Pull your pieces together to create a final illustrated story.

For older students, consider a larger assignment, like producing an actual book or a PowerPoint presentation of the story on a computer. Students can work in co-operative groups with roles that match their strengths:

  • Producer (gathers materials; leads project by keeping track of time in meetings; helps all group members stay on task; organizes all parts to create the final product)
  • Writer (works closely with editor; takes notes in the brainstorming meeting; writes or types the story on a computer; consults with the team for ideas)
  • Artist (creates illustrations by hand or on a computer)
  • Editor (works closely with the writer; checks for spelling errors, as well as story illustration accuracy and proper sequencing)

All students should work together to brainstorm ideas for their story, take notes, and produce the final product.

Monster Books to Inspire Students

If your students need some inspiration, check out these book lists of fantastic monster titles and spooky stories.

Learn more about the work of David Hyde Costello on his website.