cover image M Is for Monster: A Fantastic Creatures Alphabet

M Is for Monster: A Fantastic Creatures Alphabet

J. Patrick Lewis, illus. by Gerald Kelley. Sleeping Bear, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58536-818-1

Former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate Lewis introduces monsters from folklore, literature, and urban legend in this alphabetically organized book that will please lovers of the supernatural any time of year, not just at Halloween. Lewis provides brief, intriguing rhymes for the creatures, along with substantial background information about their mythological or literary origins, which appears in columns at the edge of every page or spread. Entries include Baba Yaga, a phoenix (“P is for Phoenix/ Bird from the ashes,/ bird for the ages,/ sign of renewal,/ symbol courageous”), Xing Tian (a headless immortal giant from Chinese legend), and—of course—zombies. Kelley’s handsome images vary in mood according to their subjects: a placid Loch Ness Monster comically surprises a boater who’s in the process of staging a Nessie hoax, while a “skin-walker” and the animals he embodies, glower ominously at readers with pale eyes. Ages 6–10. (Aug.)