Monday, October 24, 2011

Read Scary: Nonfiction Monday: Monster Hunt by Jim Arnosky

Arnosky's exploration of mysterious creatures is more of a tribute to and celebration of wonder than it is a "scary monster" book. Framed by his own trips to Lake Champlain to search for the fabled lake monster "Champ", the exploration of the weird and wonderful moves lyrically through real and as yet mythical creatures, illustrated by Arnosky's luminescent art.

Arnosky looks first at charcharodons, massive prehistoric sharks. Could they still exist? No one knows, but it's possible. What about giant squids? Long thought to be mythical, scientists now know these "krakens" really do live in the ocean - but not much more about them.

Gorillas and Komodo dragons were thought to be myth, until they were discovered in the 1800s. What about Bigfoot? Many reliable people have reported sightings of this gorilla-like creature. If he did exist, what would he eat? How would he avoid humans?

While sea serpents seem too fantastical to be based in fact, what about lake monsters, especially the famous Loch Ness Monster and Lake Champlain's Champ. Could these creatures be plesiosaurs? Arnosky ends the exploration with the story of his own exploration of Lake Champlain with his wife and grandsons. He describes in words and paintings how they explored the bottom of the lake and discovered that large lake creatures could quite possibly survive there.

Verdict: This isn't the book for kids looking for chills and thrills or for a strictly scientific approach to cryptozoology. But it's a great book for sparking imagination and exploration and encouraging appreciation of the mysteries in the world around us. Recommended for elementary grades, especially kids who like stories about mythical monsters but nothing too scary.

ISBN: 9781423130284; Published July 2011 by Hyperion; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library


Tammy Flanders said...

Very timely recommendation as there's a fellow from Alberta looking to start a new hunt for Big Foot.
Thanks for taking part in today's Nonfiction Event.
Apples with Many Seeds

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Nice! Are the illustrations in the book as lovely as the book cover? Seems promising.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Jennifer, Oh! I'm intrigued by this book -- I've always been drawn to the idea of secret creatures. Great review!

Jennifer said...

Tammy - cool, I'll have to look up that bit of news!

Myra - yep, Arnosky does really love nature paintings and these are no exception