Author: compiled by Laura Whipple
Fearsome dragons and other fantastic legend creatures abound in this collection of poems, both modern and classic, all gloriously illustrated in full color, that will expand the world of a reader’s imagination.
“In this oversize picture book, fantastical figures—from Amphisbaena, a two-headed serpent, to Yeti, “a manlike beast”—roam, inviting imaginations to do likewise. Whipple’s selection of poems celebrates mythological creatures of all shapes, sizes and origins. To their world, Carle brings his own unique vision, creating beings that shimmer with vitality in bright, bold colors. Unusual textures seem to lift the animals from their pages, adding a further dimension of realism to these “creatures that never were.” Carle’s composites are imbued with a majestic beauty, yet they still raise a smile. Some of his two-legged inventions have a definite hint of William Steig about them. This ambiguity finds voice in the poetry too. From such diverse sources as Elizabeth Browning, X.J. Kennedy, Myra Cohn Livingston, John Gardner, Shakespeare and the Bible, the verses are in turn laudatory, incredulous, factual and irreverent. A useful glossary gives further details on each creature; many children will happily be impelled to read further. All ages.”
– Publishers Weekly, August 9, 1991
“A second well-chosen, gorgeously illustrated collection of poetry in the style of Animals, Animals (1989). Not only dragons but a worldwide collection of fabulous beasts—yeti, Quetzalcoatl, okolo, Pan, kraken, and many more—appear in poems that range a bit in quality as well as origin. The interest level is consistently high—especially when coupled with Carle’s flamboyant art. Whipple concludes gracefully with the closing speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and also contributes a glossary with its own intelligent introduction. Index. 3+.”
– Kirkus, July 15, 1991
STARRED REVIEW “GR 2-6. This cultural delight makes mythological and fantasy creatures come to life in an accessible poetry collection. The words of William Blake, Anne McCaffrey, Sir Richard Burton, X.J. Kennedy, Myra Cohn Livingston, John Blerhorst, Paul Fleishman, Eleanor Farjeon, Jeanne Steig, Shakespeare, and many others breathe fire and action into these awesome beasts. The real credit goes to Eric Carle though. Flames burn; waves of water churn; large wings beat. Every beast is filled with strength and energy. Carle’s mixed-media watercolor-and-crayon paintings in bright bold colors illustrate several kinds of creatures: dragons, Yeti, Minotaur, basilik/cockatrice, phoenix, griffin, centaurs, mermaid, bunyip, Quetzalcoatl, Kraken, Cerberus, Anansi, and more. Never has such a strong, lively collection of monsters crashed forth from a book. The Chinese dragon even dances across four pages (two unfolding double-page spreads). The whole production is a perfect unity just made for use in story hours and read-alouds. Many grand beasts are indeed fearful, but there are comic poems that add a sense of relief. The very useful glossary has definitions and pronunciation guides, and Whipple’s introduction to it is fine, thoughtful writing. Larger libraries will want to buy circulating copies, a reference copy, and a copy for storytelling. A must!”
– by Susannah Price, School Library Journal, October, 1991