Saturday, January 8, 2011

Newquist, HHP Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kracken and the Giant Squid

Newquist, HHP Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kracken and the Giant Squid
Houghton Mifflin/Clarion/Graphia/Kingfisher 2010 73p 18.00
978-0-547-07678-2 ms/hs E-BN

This is the story of the mythical monsters (Kracken) from ages past and the recent discovery of the giant squid. The book nicely ties in the occurrences of this monster throughout literature (Moby Dick and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea).
The book does an intriguing job of explaining the legendary monster of the seas that has been featured in literature as far back as the Phoenicians. Seamen have always told tales of a giant monster with long arms and a beak that could wreck havoc with both men and ships.
The second half of the book deal with the scientific details concerning the discovery of the first giant squid in 1872 off Newfoundland. The transition from fiction to fact as described by the author presented an enthralling account of the mysteries of science that become known as man explores of vast untapped mysteries of mother nature.

In creating a format that intersperses text with visuals, the book has created a non-threatening approach for young readers. The format and text “are designed to fascinate as well as educate”. The inclusion of where to obtain more information and an index make this a useful research tool.

When I picked up this book I thought I was more or less knowledgeable about the Kracken and giant squid. Within the first chapter I realized that I was really quite ignorant. However, the author very readable style captured my interest with his literary facts and historic details. In the later part of the book, the author’s attention to scientific details accompanied by crisp, clear photographs, and graphics provide the reader with a sound understanding of a legendary monster. However, I am surprised that the author has not seen a giant squid. This is a very well written book that will relate well to many young readers. It is recommended as a basic book for any middle or junior high school library. It would make an excellent selection for a basic books list for school libraries. McNeil, Linda

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