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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Legends: Beasts and Monsters - Anthony Horowitz (Juvenile)

Released May 2010

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Popular children/young adult author Anthony Horowitz shares some of his earlier writing in this compilation of short stories regarding classic beasts and monsters from mythology and folklore. While some of the stories will be familiar to children and their parents, there were a few stories that were new to me. Better still, he livens things up by not sugarcoating the gruesome behaviors of these creatures and adding a dose of humor in all the right places. Stories are told in a bold, entertaining way.

In Legends: Beasts and Monsters, you'll learn the story of the Sphinx, including why the Sphinx came to Thebes and the riddle the creature asked travelers to solve. Failure led to a horrific death. One story that was new to me came from the Cheyenne. It dealt with starving brothers who came across an unusual egg. One refuses to eat it because of its appearance, the other brother does and learns a very important lesson.

These are only a couple of the stories within. There are more that involve Medusa, St. George's battle against an evil dragon, or an intriguing Celtic story about a washerwoman and a warrior. This is a great way to introduce mythology to your reluctant reader!

Illustrations by Thomas Yeates appear throughout the book providing detailed drawings of the different monsters. The book finishes with a description of 10 monsters and the reader must choose the monster that is completely fictional. I recommend Beasts and Monsters to any home with advancing readers who want something a little out of the ordinary.

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