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

4.8 out of 5 stars 90 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 (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Ernest Drake is said to have lived in St. Leonard's Forest, Sussex, England, in the late nineteenth century and to have issued a very limited run - some 100 copies - of DRAGONOLOGY in 1895. A noted dragonologist and a founding member of the Secret & Ancient Society of Dragonologists in London, Dr. Ernest Drake was determined to bring the subject of dragons under the burgeoning umbrella of the nineteenth-century natural sciences. He had absolutely no doubt that dragons exist, and his notes suggest that he had no little experience of them. Apparently, only one copy of DRAGONOLOGY ever appeared in public, surfacing in the basement of a secondhand bookstore in London in 1987. The book was accompanied by a letter, dated 1904, addressed to an unnamed apprentice.

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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
My daughter asked for this for Christmas. She already owns the piratology, egyptology, and dragonolgy. She loves them all, but dragonology is her favorite. This version I was a bit disappointed with. There isn't as much interactive in this book as with the others. There aren't all the little things to pull out and look at. She still likes it but it won't be her favorite like the other ones are I'm sure.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a fun and cool book for children. I got this and I loved it. It has cool stuff about mythycal creatures and has other cool stuff like the skin of a sea serpent, skin of lizard, and ashes from a pheonix and much more. These books are great fantasies. And now I collect them.
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Format: Hardcover
The world is full of amazing beasts and monsters far beyond our ken. Open your eyes and see for yourself. All anyone ever has to do is go out and look!

- Dr. Ernest Drake
How would you frighten off a ravenous monster without doing them harm --- or having them eat you? Why not try bottling the foul breath of the cockatrice and, if the occasion should arise, simply throw this at the beast? Or, what if you were interested in attracting the elusive unicorn? In this case you must use a young woman with three ripe pomegranates and a special song. Done correctly, you can be petting one of these shy, beautiful creatures soon. This excellent information, along with so much more, appears in the second appendix provided from the journals of Dr. Ernest Drake.

As he explains in his opening letter, in 1898 Dr. Drake took it upon himself to explore the existence of mythical beasts (besides dragons, which he had studied in an earlier edition). Almost all of these creatures had been thought either not to exist or to be extinct now. With a scientific approach, and the assistance of several friends, he boarded his yacht, the Hydra, and began an often dangerous but fruitful exploration. This beautiful volume is a testament to the unbelievable results of his year-long journey. In fact, you are able to easily retrace his voyage with the detailed foldout map provided.

Like any true scientist, Dr. Drake has been careful to collect samples when he could, such as hairs from the mane of a unicorn, skin from the tail of a sea serpent and ashes from the nest of a phoenix. How exciting to find these samples actually provided! Along with the many specimens are hundreds of drawings in both black and white and color. Obviously, the artists traveling with him were top notch.
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