Thursday, September 20, 2007

A monstrous taxonomy

kw: book reviews, folklore, monsters

Stephen Krensky writes mainly for the children's market. Watchers in the Woods, part of his "Monster Chronicles" series that now numbers eleven slim volumes, wound up on the New Books table in the grownups' section of the library, and I couldn't pass it up.

The book's 48 pages share the format shown here, with plenty of sidebar material to supplement the explanatory text. The tone is matter-of-fact, and there is a substantial bibliography and index. This isn't a "monster book", but a book that explains the mythology of forest monsters and others, such as dwarves and gnomes, that watch us, or so we imagine. He explains not just the folkloric "watchers" of many cultures, but those found in more contemporary fare, including Disney films and the Harry Potter books.

I infer that the tone of the entire series is the same; probably intended to reduce a youngster's fears of whatever might dwell among the dust bunnies under the bed. An entertaining summary.

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