Monsters and Legends is part of the fabulous debut lineup of titles from Flying Eye, a kids' imprint spun out of London's NoBrow (they're the publishers of recently reviewed books like Welcome to Your Awesome Robot and Akissi). The book, written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Garbiella Giandelli, is a fascinating reference work for kids 7 and up about the curious origins of the monsters of the popular imagination. The book recounts the odd history of stories of mermaids, chupacabras, cyclopses, dragons, the Loch Ness Monster, and other cryptozoology favorites. It's a great balance between fascination with monsters and lore and a skeptical inquiry into how widespread beliefs can be overturned by evidence and rational inquiry — a real "magic of reality" book.
The illustrations in this book represent a range of engaging styles, and they bring it to life for even younger readers. My five year old and I spent several bedtimes on this, flipping through the pages, and stopping when a picture caught her eye. I had to interpret the text for her — the language was often over her head — but the stories absolutely grabbed her and it's become a family favorite.
As with other Flying Eye titles, this one is out in the UK right now and coming to the US on June 11 (here's a pre-order link). As a one-time monster kid who's doing his best to raise another one, this one gets my unreserved stamp of approval.
MONSTERS AND LEGENDS [Flying Eye]
Monsters and Legends [Amazon UK]