Monsters: 100 Weird Creatures from Around the World
Wren & Rook, 2021
208pp., hbk., RRP $A45.00
From Cyclops to the Beast of Exmoor, Bigfoot to the Loch Ness Monster, gold-digging ants to an underwater panther, every culture has its iconic monster – some real and others embedded in literature. While they are as diverse as the people who have seen them, heard them and told their stories, they all share the ability to send shivers down the spine…
In this fascinating book for older readers, and perfect for sharing in those fill-in-five, each monster is brought to life with its story told on one page and illustrated in full colour. Each is thoroughly researched, most arise from the storytelling and superstitions of past generations searching to explain mysteries before science exposed the possibilities. Nevertheless the stories and beliefs remain and even now there are documentaries and even television series focusing on those who believe and are willing to risk all to show the “truth”. Each is identified as to whether it is myth, folklore or a sighting and the taster inspires further investigation.
And while there are monsters from all over the world featured, neither of Australia’s most familiar – the yowie and the bunyip – is featured, setting up the perfect opportunity for students to create extra entries for those as well as any others that might not have been included, as well as investigating the role that such creatures played in people’s lives. For example, many fairy tales with ‘watered-down” monsters were didactic stories designed to improve children’s behaviour! And even as we approach the festive season, youngsters in some countries are threatened with only receiving lumps of coal, if anything, if they don’t behave.
This book has lots of potential for all sorts of investigations into the world of myths, legends and folklore.