Young artists seeking a guide to drawing creatures of mythical proportions should check out this title. There are 11 characters to choose from including woodland elves, mermaids, and dragons. All sketches, regardless of intricacy, are broken down into four black-and-white stages with a full-color illustration at the end. Excepting a few words about the origins of each creature, there’s no real instruction on how to draw the figures. Artists are left to infer details like shading and coloring on their own. Most illustrations come with a suggested background scene (“Dragons are always looking for castles to attack. Try drawing an enchanted castle surrounded by a moat.”), as the subjects are shown floating against a plain white background. But there aren’t any visual references provided to aid in drawing these tougher scenes. Less experienced artists might be frustrated, and the more skilled audience this book requires might find the characters a bit too generic. However, this title would make a nice companion to a more in-depth instruction manual. Grades 4-6. --Courtney Jones
About the Author
Kathryn Clay has written more than 40 nonfiction children’s books about everything from dancing to dinosaurs. She also teaches college writing courses. She has a Master’s of Arts in Literature from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Kathryn lives in southern Minnesota with her husband and daughter.