M Is for Monster: A Fantastic Creatures Alphabet

illus. by Gerald Kelley. 32p. Sleeping Bear. Aug. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781585368181.
K-Gr 3—Lewis takes on a perennial favorite with his latest, a sort of monster bestiary exploring various creatures, from mythology, legend and fairy tales. Readers will find a monster for each letter of the alphabet, as well as a description, a poem, and an attractive illustration. The painterly, surreal images include details children will enjoy, such as the Loch Ness monster sneaking up behind a man in a boat, or a nervous-looking gargoyle with a mouse perched atop its head. Among the chosen creatures are the phoenix, the kraken, Baba Yaga, and, of course, the dragon. Some entries seem sketchy at first ("F for Frankenstein" refers to the monster as Frankenstein, before explaining that the name is truly that of the scientist who created him) but quickly pull together the origin of the monster's story, well-known features, and ties to modern lore. The ogre description, for example, describes the creatures as "extremely dangerous, humanoid looking monsters that prowl woodlands in search of humans to eat," states that they were probably created by author Charles Perrault, and says that the best-known modern example of an ogre is probably Shrek.—Heather Talty, formerly at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City

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