The Atlas of Monsters: Mythical Creatures from Around the World

Publisher: Big Picture Press

Review

One day, a librarian finds a collection of old maps in a hidden room in the house of a collector of antique manuscripts. The book contains drawings and what seem to be first-hand accounts of strange, mythical creatures from all over the world. Yet, the discovery of some strange runes scratched into the wall where the book was concealed provides a mystery that readers might can solve if they follow the clues in the book.

The Atlas of Monsters is a bit of a star among the many recent and wonderful large hardback non-fiction books containing maps of the world. This one not only takes the interesting angle of looking at each continent from the point of view of its traditional mythology, but introduces the book itself as a mysterious source object to be investigated inside a story of strange discovery, rather like Chris Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

Beautiful double-page spreads illustrate maps of Africa, southern and northern Europe, Russia, Japan and the whole world covered with a fascinating variety of mythical creatures, from the deadly whirlpool Charybdis off the coast of Sicily, to the Japanese Kappa, an impish river demon that is very fond of cucumbers.

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