Title: Tales of the Cryptids: Mysterious Creatures that May or May Not Exist
Author: Kelly Milner Halls, Rick Spears, and Roxyanne Young
ISBN: 9781581960495
Pages: 72 pages
Publisher/Date: Darby Creek Publishing, c2006.

Cryptozoology is one big word that is easily decoded. “Crypto” comes from a Greek word meaning “hidden or covered,” and “zoology” is the study of animal life. So, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, cryptozoology is the study of and searching for legendary animals–called cryptids– to find out if there’s any possibility that these mysterious animals people say they’ve seen really exist. […] And every once in a while, a determined cryptozoologist makes a discovery that knocks the doubtful experts on their ears: proof that one of the legends really does exist. (4)

Kelley Milner Halls, Rick Spears, and Roxyanne Young set out to showcase the science behind the legends and lore of creatures like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. While you might be familiar with these, have you ever heard of the Coelacanth, which was supposed to be extinct a million years ago, or the Giant Squid found near Japan that can grow more than 40 feet long? Is the Loch Ness Monster’s cousin hanging out in Lake Champlain in New York? Tales of the Cryptids breaks down the fact from the fiction, and relates new finds from this century about the possibility of these creatures actually existing.

One thing I was most impressed with that some of these sightings mentioned in the book were so recent. I’ve been going through and weeding books and looking for new stuff because most of my section was published years ago. The other thing I liked about this book is that it didn’t mention just the top two Yeti and Loch Ness, but elaborated and expanded to include legends from local tribes and “mysterious creatures” proven to exist like the giant squid. The “cryptodictionary” in the back was excellent and highly useful! I appreciated the fact that the books included maps for the Yeti and Loch Ness sections, although I wish there were map markers for the “sea serpents” discussed at length in the section like there were with the Bigfoot section. The fact that physical evidence exists in some cases (like with the Stronsay Beast) is amazing and surprising, because I’ve never heard of these creatures. Rick Spears’s drawings of these animals really brings to life these convoluted descriptions of a Bunyip for instance: “the body of a calf or a seal and the head of a dog with long fangs and sharp claws.” (48) Great book for kids, although they might come clamoring for more information, and you won’t be able to find anything like it!

This is my second post in honor of Nonfiction Mondays. Nonfiction Monday is meant to encourage blogging nonfiction books, which I definitely need to read more often.