From School Library Journal
Gr 4-6–The title of this fascinating chronicle of giant and colossal squids comes from the warnings placed by early mapmakers to alert sailors about unknown territories and dangers, and the prologue starts things off with a scary story about sighting a mysterious and terrifying sea monster. Each chapter continues the richly detailed story as humans explored and learned more about its life forms. The narrative builds suspense as scientists throughout the world gathered information from sightings and discoveries of body pieces washed up on shore. Full-color photographs, drawings, and reproductions of historical maps and posters amplify the text throughout. Size comparisons to familiar objects provide instant recognition, e.g., the eye of the colossal squid can be more than a foot wide and resemble a beach ball. The last chapters describe and illustrate the exciting recent global efforts that have led to amazing discoveries. A bibliography and detailed index add to the usefulness of this book for reports, but this title will engage general readers with its wealth of historical and scientific information about these fearsome animals.Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
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This intriguing book offers a chronological account of giant squids, beginning with sailors’ tales about krakens and leading up to the groundbreaking discoveries of the past few decades. Following the dramatic prologue, in which readers are asked to imagine themselves centuries ago on a sailing ship attacked by a sea monster with many-clawed tentacles, the book incorporates legend, history, popular culture, and science into a sometimes fascinating story. Newquist, who also wrote The Great Brain Book (2004), clearly describes the challenges faced by scientists in recent years, searching for elusive giant squids in the ocean depths and, later, studying their bodies in the lab. The many illustrations, in color when available, include photos, engravings, and maps. Although there are no source notes, the acknowledgments section references several scientists who provided information. Readers motivated to learn more about giant squids are referred to two adult books and five Internet sites. An attractive, informative book on an underrepresented topic. Grades 5-8. --Carolyn Phelan
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