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Monsters and Water Beasts: Creatures of Fact or Fiction?
by Karen Hokanson Miller and illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier (Holt, May 2007)
Mythical beasts or
real creatures? You decide! Big Foot, Moth Man, the Sea Serpent of
Gloucester. These are just a few of the mythical beasts uncovered in
this intriguing collection of extraordinary creatures. Firsthand
accounts and the opinions of scientists weave together a fascinating
web of fact and legend. Whether you're a skeptic or a believer, you'll
find much to ponder in the lore surrounding these monsters.
Read an excerpt here. Visit the Gallery of student art inspired by Monsters and Water Beasts.
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Reviews from School Library Journal
This well-researched account of legendary land and sea creatures will provide satisfying new information for those already contemplating the existence of these beasts. In addition, the whimsical watercolor illustrations and engaging narrative presented in chapter-book format will pique the curiosity of anyone considering the question for the first time and will appeal to readers who don't normally gravitate toward nonfiction topics.
Miller includes Bigfoot in her discussion, but it is her detailed treatment of lesser-known monsters such as the Big Bird of Texas, hoop snakes, Mothman, the Jersey Devil, the sea maiden of Biloxi, the sea serpent of Gloucester, and the cadborosaurus in British Columbia that adds to the breadth of this book.
Chapters are structured with anecdotal information of firsthand encounters followed by the scientific theories that could disprove these sightings. In each instance, the author provides hope for believers with such inconclusive statements as "all we have to do is wait." Those hungry for spooky stories will find their fill with such chilling legends as that of the black snake that puts his tail in his mouth and rolls down a hill, aggressively pursuing the woodsmen who destroyed his home. And devotees of the "Can Science Solve?" series (Heinemann Library) will savor this new blend of the logical and the mysterious.
from Booklist Is there truth in the reports of strange animals unknown to science? Miller opens and closes this book on legendary creatures with the 2002 discovery of the giant squid, which may have inspired reports of sea serpents for thousands of years. Each chapter discusses one rumored beast...
Handsomely designed, the book features full-page and smaller chapter-head paintings that depict the creatures as kindly rather than terrifying, echoing the even, nonsensational tone of the text. --Carolyn Phelan