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Dr. Ernest Drake's Monsterology: The Complete Book of Monstrous Beasts
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, aside from some mild and humorous references to monsters that like to eat people, there is little to be concerned about here. Of course, children prone to nightmares probably shouldn't be reading a book about monsters, but they are not presented in a way intended to be frightening.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
This latest in the Ologies series of pseudo-nonfiction books covers mythological creatures other than dragons. These are divided into monsters of the land, water, and air, as well as semi-human creatures such as the centaur and harpy. While most of them are from Greek mythology, there are some from other traditions as well. Appendices cover spells and charms, and historical monsterologists. The book includes removable letters, samples of the skin of various creatures, a few tiny booklets, and other interactive items.
Is it any good?
For some children who love to read anything they can get their hands on about mythological creatures, this will be fun. They'll mainly be attracted to the design and all the interactive doohickeys it comes with, not so much the content. There are many books out there on this topic with a lot more information, but for beginners, this could be an attractive way to start. The letter you can take out and read; the miniature booklets; the samples of fake monster skin, hair, and feathers; and an ending cabinet full of samples all make this a very appealing object. For kids who are not myth-crazed, though, the appeal will wear off rapidly, and they will find the content somewhat dull.
The publisher recommends this for children ages 6 and up, but kids at the lower end of this age range may find it confusing -- it mixes together fantasy and fact, and presents it all as nonfiction. Even older kids may have difficulty knowing what is real and what isn't. The whole thing, of course, is intended as a joke, but many kids don't read it that way, and some adult assistance may be required.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what's real and what isn't. The book is presented as nonfiction, but of course this is done with tongue in cheek. But there are some real things here. How can you know which are real and which aren't? What differentiates a monster from other rare creatures? Is a dinosaur a monster? Are there any monsters that are, or were, real?