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The Gruesome Guide to World Monsters


Make room in your suitcase for this monstrously entertaining guide to fantastic creatures around the world — and how to elude them.

I did not make any of this up.

Do you know why you should have baby teeth handy when visiting the Midwest? Or why you should bring a cucumber with you when swimming in Japan? How good are you at solving Russian riddles? From Boston to Bejing, from Moscow to Mali, any place you visit has its own terrifying tales of ...

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Make room in your suitcase for this monstrously entertaining guide to fantastic creatures around the world — and how to elude them.

I did not make any of this up.

Do you know why you should have baby teeth handy when visiting the Midwest? Or why you should bring a cucumber with you when swimming in Japan? How good are you at solving Russian riddles? From Boston to Bejing, from Moscow to Mali, any place you visit has its own terrifying tales of very real creatures. Complete with handy "gruesomeness ratings," this guide offers all the important facts on some sixty-three folkloric monsters and how (if possible!) to survive an encounter with them. Meticulously researched by Judy Sierra and illustrated in grotesque detail by Henrik Drescher, here is the ultimate resource for any world traveler, armchair or otherwise, hoping to make it home alive.

Provides illustrations and brief descriptions of monsters found in different parts of the world, including Bloody Mary, who pulls children into mirrors throughout North America, and the blood-sucking, water-dwelling Kappas of Japan.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this globe-trotting bestiary, Sierra (Wild About Books) recounts native monster legends and Drescher (Pat the Beastie) sets the horrific mood with slithery ink sketches. Each monster receives a Gruesomeness Rating (one skull-and-crossbones symbol equals "frightening," five mean "fatal"), along with a description and tongue-in-cheek Survival Tip. The author offers folksy strategies for avoiding a forest cave-dwelling kidnapper called the Dziwozony ("If you are small and cute, don't venture alone into a Polish forest") and the clutching Burr Woman of the American Great Plains ("Before helping any nice older ladies, ask to see their fingernails"). Readers learn that the giant half-bird Chiruwi of Malawi will challenge them to wrestle, and that Malaysia's tiny Polong and cricket-like Pelesit secretly burrow under the skin: "People with polong sickness talk endlessly about cats." The mortally dangerous monsters come with fewer instructions, naturally. La cobra grande strikes terror into Amazon travelers ("Sorry, no survivors to query") and the prey-inhaling Nundu allegedly prowls Southern and Eastern Africa ("Survival Tip: Good luck!"). Drescher's grotesque mixed-media illustrations look like doodles after nightmares, and suggest terrified glimpses of these 60-odd ghouls. Given its international scope, this book could use a map and sources for the myths, but as it is, every page provides imaginative fodder for chilling tales. Ages 6-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
No matter where you go—from Australia to Zimbabwe—have this guide close by if you want to avoid the ghastly monsters found all around the globe. Ignore the cries of that innocent baby; he or she might be the hungry cannibal baby who sucks all the flesh off a person's bones. Be ready to answer riddles correctly if you run into a poludnitsa; that shimmering spirit asks difficult ones and if you do not have the correct answers . . . well, you will probably never be seen again. The book has brief descriptions of each monster and the horrible things it can do. There is also a handy "Gruesomeness Scale" that rates each monster from 1 to 5 skull and crossbones. Watch out for anything with a rating of 5—it is fatal. The quirky illustrations are obviously inspired by the wildest of imaginations. In a thought-provoking "Afterword," the author gives some of the reasons why people everywhere have believed in monsters and asks why the monsters in this title—all found in the world's folklore—have lived in people's imaginations for hundreds of years. Exciting, educational and an excellent choice for all but the youngest of kids. 2005, Candlewick Press, Ages 7 to 11.
—Anita Barnes Lowen
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-Drescher's crudely drawn, luridly colored, mixed-media "Monsters from the Id"-style portraits, which provide perfect jumping-off points for susceptible young imaginations, are matched with Sierra's brief introductions to dozens of ugly customers from world folklore. Along with the few that will provoke shivers of recognition, such as the Australian Bunyip, she offers wonderfully provocative warnings against creatures as diverse as the giant skunk Aniwye, the blood-sucking bat Mansusopsop, and Bloody Mary, "an evil specter who lives on the other side of mirrors, especially the mirrors of elementary-school bathrooms." Though the author does not provide specific source notes, she does give each entry a general area of origin, as well as a skull-and-crossbones "Gruesomeness Rating" and a "Survival Tip," if any. This crowd pleaser is a perfect lead-in to Daniel Cohen's spine-chilling tales, or more broadly focused reference titles, such as Rosemary Ellen Guiley's Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters (Facts On File, 2004).-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
If one were to believe that monsters are real, this would be a great nonfiction reference tool. However, others will view it as a fantastic tongue-in-cheek treasure with encyclopedia-like entries. Sierra dispenses several survival tips for the basic monster encounter; for instance, she advises travelers to Russia to study riddle books in order to answer Poludnitsa's queries (and survive). Other tips provide advice about eating habits, where to sleep and what to do-"swim only in the hotel pool" to avoid Wanagemeswak. She gives no such advice for the La Cobra Grande as the reader is advised that there are "no survivors to query." Each entry provides a location, gruesomeness rating, description and survival tip. A fun read offering Drescher the chance to go wild with his trademark weirdness and just-scary-enough mixed-media illustrations of more than 60 gruesome creatures. Outrageous fun, but sure to inform as well. (afterword) (Picture book. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763617271
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 7/12/2005
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 689,232
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.41 (w) x 11.61 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Judy Sierra is a scholar of folklore and mythology as well as the author of many award-winning books for children, including the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller WILD ABOUT BOOKS. Of THE GRUESOME GUIDE TO WORLD MONSTERS, she says, "I wrote this book for people who, like me, find Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster rather disappointing. I had so much fun researching this book, as I discovered little-known accounts of monsters more frightening than I ever imagined."

Henrik Drescher has written and illustrated many wonderful books for children and adults, including PAT THE BEASTIE and THE BOY WHO ATE AROUND. His illustrations are frequently seen in ROLLING STONE, NEWSDAY, and THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW. He lives in Hong Kong.

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