Monstrous: The Lore, Gore, and Science Behind Your Favorite Monsters

Lerner. Sept. 2019. 148p. bibliog. glossary. index. notes. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781512449167.
Gr 7 Up–Beccia delivers an interwoven tale of science, history, and the fictional monsters we love and fear. The mixed-media illustrations are macabre and quirky when fictionalized, while frighteningly accurate when depicting scientific and historical infographics. Balancing darker backgrounds with colorful contrasting text, each monster biography has a mix of paragraphs, diagrams, and time lines/scales. Each monster (perhaps) becomes a little less scary as readers start to understand the science behind each one. From the electricity that seemingly awoke Frankenstein’s monster to the radiation that evidently created Godzilla, the science is systematically broken down. Although some of the information may be disturbing for younger readers, the connections to history and science also make the text fascinating and, at times, laugh-out-loud funny.
VERDICT Avid fans of dinosaurs, animals, science, history, scary stories, or, more specifically, R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” and the “Hotel Transylvania” series will enjoy these monsters’ origin stories.

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