Thursday, September 29, 2011

Monster Hunt: Exploring Mysterious Creatures

Monster Hunt: Exploring Mysterious Creatures
Hyperion Book, 2011

Want to go on a hunt for monsters?

Self-taught writer, artist, and natural scientist, Jim Arnosky, explores the mythical creatures Bigfoot, the kraken (the giant squid), giant sharks, and the Loch Ness Monster in the picture book Monster Hunt. In the brief introduction, Arnosky states, “I’m going on a monster hunt. Come along. Wonder with me.” Arnosky introduces the science known as cryptozoology, the scientific study of animals whose existence has not yet been proven. By recounting the history of these mythical creatures, and investigating prehistoric animals that have survived from present, Arnosky has supplied a fun and informative book for students in grades three through five.

There are times when Arnosky uses the scientific name for a creature. For example, a charcharodon is the largest shark to have ever swum in the ocean. He identifies the other names for Bigfoot (Sasquatch, Snunk Ape, and Grassman) and speculates about what creatures really do lurk below Loch Ness and Lake Champlain.

Arnoksy’s illustrations of these famous cryptids are at times menacing, but I feel that they heighten the effects of the adventure he takes us on as we explore the scary, mysterious mythical creatures. 

By inviting the reader to take the journey into the world of the unexplained phenomenon, students (and some adults) are eager to learn about the history of these creatures and delve deeper into the science that surrounds them. This book would be a great read aloud to introduce a lesson on any mythical creature or any mystery. Arnosky concludes the book by saying, "I hope we solve the mysteries of Bigfoot, Champ, and Nessie. And when we do, I hope new mysteries crop up to take their place. We need mystery." I agree. A good, healthy mystery can keep our minds active. That is just what Monster Hunt does!


  1. This book sounds awesome. I used to love reading about mysterious creatures when I was young. I completely agree that "we need mystery," keeps things interesting. Even though actually seeing these creatures would be terrifying, I feel that a little part of us hope they actually do exist!

  2. This sounds like such a fun book! From the cover, it seems like the illustrations are as dark and mysterious as the stories. Does that follow for the rest of the illustrations?
    You mentioned that Arnosky tells the story behind these creatures and investigates prehistoric animals. Does he write these as almost fiction-like stoies? Or does he write with a more scientific, nonfiction style?

  3. I enjoy reading your reviews! This book sounds interesting. I also want to know if it's written in a more fiction like way or non-fiction way? Are there many illustrations or is it more text?

    This style of book would be a unique way to introduce folk tales. I think most students would like to explore stories of mysterious creatures. This could be a great book to encourage creative writing as well!