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Tales of the Cryptids: Mysterious Creatures That May or May Not Exist

by Halls, Kelly Milner


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Gr 4-7–Most kids love monsters, and Halls, Spears, and Young obviously had a grand time pulling up creepy critters to feed readers' fertile imaginations. From old big leaguers like Bigfoot and his kin, and Nessie and her ilk, they pop down to the minors with Mokele-mbembe and Olitu, and on into the bush leagues with the Bunyip and the Caddy. To spice up the roster, the authors provide found information on former cryptids such as the coelacanth and the Chacoan peccary, and data on pure hoaxes like the Piltdown Man and the Cardiff Giant. Pure scientists will bridle at cryptozoology passing itself off as anything but a pseudoscience, but readers will scramble to find data on such eerie apparitions as the Chupacabra and the Mongolian Death Worm. The conversational text makes for fun reading, and a plethora of pictures (photos and drawings in both color and black and white) will prove enticing. A cryptidictionary provides a full roster of mysterious creatures that may or may not exist in tidy alphabetical order, complete with a reality index rating for each one. For a personal reality check after all this engaging hoopla, try Sally M. Walker's super Fossil Fish Found Alive (Carolrhoda, 2002), Richard Ellis's readable The Search for the Giant Squid (Lyons, 1998), and Kathy Darling's exciting Komodo Dragon on Location (Lothrop, 1997), or, for a truly icky experience, Christopher Maynard's Micromonsters (DK, 1999), which deals with human parasites (not for the squeamish!).–Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

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From BookList, November 15, 2006, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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Lots of pictures, photos, drawings, and sketches fill the pages of this middle-grade look at cryptozoology--the study of legendary animals, called cryptids. Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and others are grouped in four sections. The authors have made a valiant attempt to find what is true and provable (not much), and their keen interest in the topic is evident in their earnest but ironic tone. Each chapter begins with a florid introduction (“Imagine . . . a night as dark as it is quiet”), followed by whatever facts are available, including claimed sightings. The “Cryptidictionary,” which describes and illustrates each of the 55 or so creatures mentioned and rates them on a reality index, is fun, as are the plaster impressions of the right foot of each of the authors. A bibliography is appended.
GraceAnneDeCandido.

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