Monsters and Mythical Creatures Reviews

Frankenstein: ISBN 978-1-60152-180-4 / eBook: 978-1-60152-318-1
Medusa: ISBN 978-1-60152-181-1 / eBook: 978-1-60152-319-8
The Mummy: ISBN 978-1-60152-182-8 / eBook: 978-1-60152-320-4
Trolls: ISBN 978-1-60152-183-5 / eBook: 978-1-60152-321-1
Booklist, December 1, 2011

The Monsters and Mythical Creatures series continues to be an ideal starting point for young researchers interested in the weird, mysterious, and paranormal. Using fleet, descriptive prose to communicate the impressively researched (and sourced) facts, these medium-length works manage to rope in just about everything, from folklore to history to pop culture. The bulk of Frankenstein focuses upon Mary Shelley's masterpiece, not just the infamous contest for which it was written, but the reception and critical analysis, both then and now. Medusa goes into the monster's roots in Greek storytelling before delving more deeply into Homer's Iliad, the story of Perseus, and the Gorgon's appearance in art, theater, opera, and more. The Mummy begins with the seminal 1932 Boris Karloff film before backtracking into the worldwide "mummy lust" that began with the 1922 discovery of King Tut's tomb and all the subsequent curses and legends. Trolls is perhaps the most impressive volume, twining together the various strands of Norse legends into a coherent, readable, eye-opening narrative that begins in the ninth-century and ends with Harry Potter. The layout is a bit bland, but the illustrations are fine and varied, the sidebars always illuminating, and the back matter robust. Monster hunters, come and get 'em.