Monday, January 8, 2018

What makes a monster? by Jess Keating, illustrated by David DeGrand

Keating returns with another humorous and thought-provoking picture book in her new series, "The World of Weird Animals." In the first book, Pink is for blobfish, she explored unusual pink animals of the world. Now she looks at animals considered monsters either because of superstition, fear, or their unusual appearance. Each spread includes a photograph of the animal in action, a funny cartoon, a description of the animal, and an additional section on the animal's unusual ability or appearance. A sidebar includes stats about the animal - name, species name, size, diet, habitat, and predators and threats.

Animals listed include the honey badger, Portuguese man-of-war, horror frog, cordyceps fungus, prairie dog, assassin bug, goblin shark, and finally, humans. The final pages include funny but thoughtful sections on deciding what makes a monster - are the creatures listed in the book acting according to their natures? Are they truly monsters or are they just surviving the best they can? There is also a glossary.

While this book certainly will catch the attention of kids who enjoy "weird animal" factoids and creepy photographs, underneath the humorous exterior it encourages kids to think about why they're scared of, or dislike certain animals. Do we focus on saving cute animals more than those that are weird-looking?

Verdict: A fun and interesting look at weird creatures around the world as well as a good start for critical thinking about why we behave the way we do. Recommended.

ISBN: 9780553512304; Published 2017 by Alfred A. Knopf; Purchased for the library

1 comment:

Books4Learning said...

Love the cover! This books looks fascinating!