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Monsterology: The Complete Book of Monstrous Beasts Hardcover – August 12, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–6—A big, colorful entry in the series that introduced readers to Dragonology (2003), Pirateology (2006), and Wizardology (2005, all Candlewick), this latest mock-nonfiction title explores such legendary beasts as kelpies, griffins, bunyips, and krakens. The smattering of "facts" revealed about these storied creatures, while based on Greek myths and the legends of other cultures, are generously fictionalized. The attractive illustrations, both color and monochrome, are done by several hands in 19th-century styles and provide a lot of detail for readers to get lost in. Although the book is not exactly circulation-friendly—it includes several faux documents that can be removed from the book-it should be a big hit among fantasy fans as a browsing item.—Walter Minkel, Austin Public Library, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Dugald A. Steer, Editor: " With what trepidation I sat down to give my editorial attentions to what was clearly the masterwork of a very erudite man, should be obvious to all who read this book." So begins a letter, written in 1894, from Dugald Steer to an Oxford friend. The letter goes on to explain how a chance meeting with Dr. Ernest Drake at the BULL'S HEAD TAVERN in Dorking, Surrey, made him more than a little curious. Skeptical at first, he took up Dr. Drake's offer to meet him at his house and St. Leonard's Forest, and to attend one of the S.A.S.D. meetings in London. There, he became further involved in Dr. Drake's work, joining him on an expedition to Scotland to try and estimate the hunting range of the Dornoch Wyrm. As he writes, the trip was, " a cause of some emotion, as many of my relative, particularly the Ross branch, come from so near."
Douglas Carrel, Chief Draughtsman: A native of Scotland, Douglas Carrel was clearly a dragonologist of some standing, and often accompanied Dr. Drake on some of his more fruitful expeditions. In a letter from Constantinople to the editor he says, " It is with considerable sense of honour, and no small amount of pride, that I lend my hand to the compiling of this most worthy volume . . . Ultimately, I feel that all of us— within this privileged circle in particular— are duty-bound to preserve and perpetuate the love and lore of dragons."
Helen Ward, Scientific Artist: Helen Ward trained as an illustrator at Brighton School of Art, although it is not known exactly when she came into contact with Dr. Drake. However a quote from her autobiography makes some things clear: " As a child Idreamed of dragons. When age allowed, I traveled. Unfortunately, several expeditions to Europe and one to that part of Russia known as Finland specifically to capture the likeness of a live dragon have ended in failure. The creatures seemed deliberately elusive . . .. With the help of descriptions, notes, and detailed drawings made by others I have managed to illustrate these majestic creatures to the satisfaction of those more fortunate and better-informed dragonologists."
Wayne Anderson, Pictorial Artist: Interested in cryptozoology from an early age, Wayne Anderson first came into contact with S.A.S.D. at one of their meetings in Wyvern Way in London. It was after a couple of trips with Drake— to the Alps in 1878 and to Scotland in 1880— that Wayne realized his early dragon drawings were, in fact, more life-like than he could have realised. Like most of the other collaborators on DRAGONOLOGY, he has contributed to many other books for children. He enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with Helen Ward that resulted in books such as THE TIN FOREST and THE DRAGON MACHIINE.
Nghiem Ta, Artistic Direction: Dr. Drake met Nghiem Ta in the Fukien (now Fujian) Province of China where she was working in her grandfather's bookshop. Their shared interest in dragons became evident when he showed her a copy of the fabled DRAGON SUTRA of Hong Wei, which the monks of that monastery made for him as a gift. He asked Miss Ta if such a revered object could be bound into a book and was so impressed with her work that he later invited her to London to oversee the creation of DRAGONOLOGY.

Dugald A. Steer, Editor: "With what trepidation I sat down to give my editorial attentions to what was clearly the masterwork of a very erudite man, should be obvious to all who read this book." So begins a letter, written in 1894, from Dugald Steer to an Oxford friend. The letter goes on to explain how a chance meeting with Dr. Ernest Drake at the BULL'S HEAD TAVERN in Dorking, Surrey, made him more than a little curious. Skeptical at first, he took up Dr. Drake's offer to meet him at his house and St. Leonard's Forest, and to attend one of the S.A.S.D. meetings in London. There, he became further involved in Dr. Drake's work, joining him on an expedition to Scotland to try and estimate the hunting range of the Dornoch Wyrm. As he writes, the trip was, "a cause of some emotion, as many of my relative, particularly the Ross branch, come from so near."
Douglas Carrel, Chief Draughtsman: A native of Scotland, Douglas Carrel was clearly a dragonologist of some standing, and often accompanied Dr. Drake on some of his more fruitful expeditions. In a letter from Constantinople to the editor he says, "It is with considerable sense of honour, and no small amount of pride, that I lend my hand to the compiling of this most worthy volume . . . Ultimately, I feel that all of us--within this privileged circle in particular--are duty-bound to preserve and perpetuate the love and lore of dragons."
Helen Ward, Scientific Artist: Helen Ward trained as an illustrator at Brighton School of Art, although it is not known exactly when she came into contact with Dr. Drake. However a quote from her autobiography makes some things clear: "As a child I dreamed of dragons. When age allowed, I traveled.Unfortunately, several expeditions to Europe and one to that part of Russia known as Finland specifically to capture the likeness of a live dragon have ended in failure. The creatures seemed deliberately elusive . . .. With the help of descriptions, notes, and detailed drawings made by others I have managed to illustrate these majestic creatures to the satisfaction of those more fortunate and better-informed dragonologists."
Wayne Anderson, Pictorial Artist: Interested in cryptozoology from an early age, Wayne Anderson first came into contact with S.A.S.D. at one of their meetings in Wyvern Way in London. It was after a couple of trips with Drake--to the Alps in 1878 and to Scotland in 1880--that Wayne realized his early dragon drawings were, in fact, more life-like than he could have realised. Like most of the other collaborators on DRAGONOLOGY, he has contributed to many other books for children. He enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with Helen Ward that resulted in books such as THE TIN FOREST and THE DRAGON MACHIINE.
Nghiem Ta, Artistic Direction: Dr. Drake met Nghiem Ta in the Fukien (now Fujian) Province of China where she was working in her grandfather's bookshop. Their shared interest in dragons became evident when he showed her a copy of the fabled DRAGON SUTRA of Hong Wei, which the monks of that monastery made for him as a gift. He asked Miss Ta if such a revered object could be bound into a book and was so impressed with her work that he later invited her to London to oversee the creation of DRAGONOLOGY.

Helen Ward and Wayne Anderson have worked together on a number of splendid picture books. Their work has been hailed as exquisitely detailed . . . touching by "Publishers Weekly" and infused with natural wonder, beautifully illustrated, and stunning by "Booklist." Ms. Ward and Mr. Anderson live in England.

Douglas Carrel, a native of Scotland, was a dragonologist and illustrator of some standing. He accompanied Dr. Drake on some of his more fruitful expeditions, as indicated by a letter he wrote to the editor of Dragonology. "Having known Dr. Ernest Drake for many years and having shared with him in his expeditionary research ... I believe that it is my solemn duty to contribute to the furtherance of his work." he wrote. "I've come to share his enlightened perspective that these splendid creatures, though invariably maligned and deemed as nothing more than the stuff of myth, are in fact as real as you or me."

Helen Ward has been writing and illustrating children s books for over twenty years. She trained at the Brighton School of Art under such well-known illustrators as Raymond Briggs, Justin Todd and John Vernon Lord and has accrued numerous awards and accolades for her work, including twice winning the prestigious National Art Library Illustration Award.Helen s illustrations are renowned for their vitality and painstaking attention to detail, and this is never more in evidence than in the fantastical, imaginative world she has created in Snutt the Ift, A Small but Significant Chapter in the Life of the Universe.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1220 (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Nov edition (August 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763639400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763639402
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 0.9 x 12.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The latest in the popular "ology" series, Monsterology: The Complete Book of Monstrous Beasts is as beautiful and elaborate as its many companion volumes. Featuring writings on fantastic beasts from griffons and hippogriffs to phoenixes, the pegasus, unicorns, kraken, sphinx, and much more (but not dragons - they're covered in a different book!), Monsterology reads a bit like a nineteenth century naturalist treatise. Numerous delicate pop-up flaps, textured "hide samples" or other special tidbits adorn the pages - most notably the so-called "ashes from the nest of a phoenix". "Ashes from a phoenix's nest [like those above] are said to give long life. They should never be ingested, as this could prove disastrous. Instead, the ashes are so potent that simply keeping this book on a nearby shelf will have a noticeably beneficial effect in fifty years or so." The colorful artwork adds the perfect touch to this "must-have" for any fantasy buff's private collection.
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Dr. Ernest Drake, author of Dragonology, returns with a new book about many of the unusual creatures he encountered over the years during his pursuit of dragons. Whether the beasts live on the earth, in the sea, or soar through the air, Drake does his best to scientifically chronicle each one. After the featured creatures, appendices chronicle spells and charms associated with these animamls and the adventures of historic monsterologists.

Why they named the book "Monsterology" when the perfectly applicable word "Cryptozoology" already exists eludes me. I suppose it's because the book, which claims to be written in the late 19th or early 20th century, may predate the use of the word cryptozoology, but it seems more likely that the word may have been thought too difficult for younger readers.

I thought that this book was a rather weak follow-up to Dragonology. With so many different monsters and mythological characters to catalog, Drake doesn't have time or space to go into depth. For familiar creatures like dragons and unicorns, I didn't feel like I missed much, but many of Drake's choices might be pretty obscure for a young audience. How many kids are familiar with the baku, a creature of Japanese origin? Well, all they will get in this book is a small drawing and a couple of sentences, which doesn't cover much. Worse, in his entry on the nue Drake compares it to another creature called a tanuki - but nowhere in the book is this creature cataloged, so unless the child has encountered the name before it won't be helpful.
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As a student of cultural history, I place a certain small value on continuing the correctness of various mythology throughout time. I was a bit disappointed with some of the "information" in this book, as it doesn't always follow the accepted mytho-historical references. Barring that, this book is fabulous! It's obviously written for pure entertainment and gives more value to involving the young reader (and myself!) in becoming a true Monsterologist, rather than any cultural accuracy. I now believe myself and my 11-year-old son to have all the skills necessary to go out and begin our careers as Monsterologists, knowing now where to find the creatures, what details to look for, and how to record data. I'm seriously looking forward to our next safari. This book, and all of the 'Ologist books, are the greatest thing for the imagination since the cardboard box! I will be purchasing many more of these. Highly recommended!
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I bought this for my granddaughter for Christmas as she has an interest in things mystical and mythic. Like all of the "ology" series this book has beautiful paper and cover. Inside is filled with the same kind of little interest spots with special gifts and notes. Pictures are done mostly in sketch mode very nice and covers several kinds of monsters. This would make a nice coffee table conversation book as well as book for youngsters with interests in mythical monsters. I was fortunate to find this one in the used section for a fraction of the price of a new one and it was in excellent condition, just like new.
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Absolutely STUNNING book!!! I don't know where to being. I bought 2 of these book this one and the other one in the series called Dragonology.
Both books are stunning magnificent works of art. Very informative both in factual sense and in mystical sense. This book truly brings to life creatures that many believe to be just myth. I bought these because my family husband, daughter and I are very open minded and are believers of myths. Reading a book that takes the topi seriously in a educational and fun way for kids is amazing. My daughter has so much fun looking threw the pages over and over, she treats the books like they are gold literally she says she's never had a better book and that the two from this series are he favorites of all. Anyways we will definitely be collecting ALL of you other "Ologies" books because book that gets my kid this excited about reading is welcome in my home. So thank you to creating such a wonderful work of art that is so educational.
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