Tales of the Cryptids: Mysterious Creatures That May or May Not Exist
Kelly Milner Halls, Rick Spears, Roxyanne Young
2006, Darby Creek Publishing
Juvenile nonfiction aimed for grades 4 and up. Lots of pictures and artwork.
This is an extremely disappointing book for a childrens’ intro to cryptids. The text reads like a patronizing newspaper article, mischaracterizing cryptids to include the coelacanth and giant squid. Stories have dramatic flourishes that will appeal to young readers but make fiction sound like fact. The text fails to present any critical thinking on the subject or alternate explanations, and guides the reader towards a mysterious explanation. Scientific questions are incorrectly answered by nonscientists. Example: Can plesiosaurs have survived? Answer: “communities of animals” live for generations. That’s hardly equivalent to the suggestion that “marine reptiles live on for millions of years without discovery”, which is what they leave open as an explanation for lake monsters like Nessie. Includes use of a subjective scale about how likely it is that each creature exists without mention of misidentification or legend: Megalodon is leaning towards real, the Zuryo Maru monster is missing the explanation that is a known shark carcass. Extremely poor bibliography with only 11 cites. This is a rehash of old stuff with a few new twists added. Not recommended for children or anyone.