CRYPTID CREATURES: A FIELD GUIDE
Written by Kelly Milner Halls
Illustrated by Rick Spears
Little Bigfoot 9/24/2019
224 Pages Ages 7 and up
Genre: Middle Grade Books, Fiction
Themes: Cryptozoology, Folklore, Monsters
EXPLORE THE FASCINATING WORLD OF CRYPTOZOOLOGY!
Cryptid Creatures offers a closer look at fifty amazing creatures, including, bigfoot, mermaids, and chupacabra, examining the best possible evidence for each, including scientific papers, magazine and newspaper articles, and credible eyewitness accounts. The cryptids are arranged in order alphabetically, and in addition to speculative illustrations, include details such as when they were first reported; whether they are terrestrial, aerial, or aquatic; and where they rank on a reality rating of 1 to 6, in which 1 means that the cryptid has been confirmed as a hoax and 6 means the cryptid has been proven real. The page-turning guide will inspire curious readers to investigate more on their own and maybe even help to prove if a cryptid is a hoax or is real. (from publisher)
For hundreds of years, people have seen and documented animal life worldwide. Zoology is the study of confirmed animal species—creatures captured, studied, and verified as real by the scientific community. But what about animals seen but unconfirmed—animals that fall between the realms of real and imaginary on the scientific spectrum?
Why I like this book
Cryptid Creatures is a well-researched and written field guide of 50 cryptid creatures—there are so many more—from Ahools to Yetis. Anyone who has even the slightest interest in cryptid creatures needs to check out this book. For each animal, listed alphabetically (with enunciation where needed), the author created an quick information box containing its name, when and where it was first spotted, the type of cryptid it is, and the probability of it being a real animal or a hoax. The author then offers a narrative for each cryptid offering any known facts and eyewitness accounts.
The artist adds several sketches of each creature, including a skull and an infant. Many of these made me cringe as Spears renders some of these cryptids creepier than I imagined. The Dover Demon looks like an alien from Area 51. More than one looks similar to Bigfoot. The Piltdown Man looks like he is from the age of cavemen, though only first seen in 1912 England. I think Spears did a magnificent job of illustrating each creature and without those images Cryptid Creatures would lose its flair.
Kids, especially young boys, will enjoy Cryptid Creatures whether a confirmed believer in these beings, or in their improbability. Even reluctant readers will enjoy reading Cryptid Creatures thanks to its short sections and black-and-white “sketch” illustrations. Of the fifty cryptids, only four are six-star—absolutely real—animals, all very recently seen for the first time. For some reason, I envision these cryptids from long ago, when science held little value. As a writer, I could not help thinking how valuable Cryptid Creatures could be to the author who writes about monsters, magical beings, and the like. Milner Halls has done all the prerequisite research needed to bring any great creature feature to life.
But . . . the yellow page numbers and information boxes are both difficult to read. Pages numbers are almost invisible. Readable page numbers are important to someone who tends to lose her place. A darker color would have worked better for readers’ eyes.
If required to name a cryptid creature to love it would be the marozi. I like what looks like a crossbred between a lion and a leopard, which is what makes this creature high on the “yep, could be true” scale (it was given 5 out of 6 stars). The large lion head on a spot-filled body does not look as ferocious as I would imagine it to be, The baby marozi is adorable with big bulging eyes. Spears has the infant posing with its head over its shoulder, which is really a lovely picture.
Back matter includes Cryptid Extras, which include cartoon cryptids, The International Museum of Cryptozoology, offers of reward money, and more interesting side notes in cryptozoology. The four appendices include a section about the hundreds of cryptid types found around the world; information for the reader wanting to read more about these beings; and traditional endnotes: a glossary and an index.
Illustrations: Rendered in pencil sketches.
Available at Amazon
CRYPTID CREATURES: A FIELD GUIDE. Text Copyright © 2019 by Kelly Milner Halls. Illustrations copyright © 2019 by Rick Spears. Published by Little Bigfoot / Sasquatch Books / Penguin Random House, Seattle, WA.
Copyright © 2019 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved