Book Review: Creature Files Dragons: Encounter 20 Mythical Monsters by L J Tracosas

Creature Files Dragons: Encounter 20 Mythical Monsters by L J Tracosas is a children's book that blends fact and fiction. Do you believe dragons are simply the scaly stuff of myths? Or do you think they really existed? Whatever side you're on, this collection of twenty fascinating creatures is sure to spark your imagination.  In Creature Files: Dragons, you’ll take a tour through the world of fire-breathing, gold-hoarding, three-headed monsters and discover where and how these magical creatures came to be. Learn the unique folklore of cultures around the globe, from China to Russia to Eastern Africa, and see how people envisioned these otherworldly beasts through lush and evocative illustrations. Included are many meaty facts to gnaw on—like which dragon had too many teeth to count, and which dragon had teeth as big as a man’s arm—along with a realistic dragon-tooth necklace! And science lovers will also find something to sink their teeth into: facts about real-life dragons that exist today. These dragons may not breathe fire, but they share some of the same traits as their mythical brethren.

Creature Files Dragons: Encounter 20 Mythical Monsters is a nice exploration of how myths about creatures share certain traits across the world, but also differ in some ways. Dragon lore, and other legends, has always been one of my favorite topics.. I like that pronunciation is included for the different types of dragons from around the world, and the roles that dinosaur fossils played in the legends. I enjoyed the illustrations, especially how they detailed the features of the different dragon legends. I was very interested to see how the heads of some resembled well know animals- snakes, warthogs, fish, birds, and so on. I also liked that maps showing where the countries of origin for each type of dragon legend is included on the page with the information. I also like the inclusion of some creatures that I never considered to be part of dragon lore, but share similar features and traits- such as the hydra and cockatrice. I always considered them their own kind of creature, rather than part of a larger classification, but the little bit of lore given does explain these inclusions. My only two complains are that the font chosen for some of the text makes it hard to read, particularly in digital file, and that there are many different creatures included, the information offered about each is minimal, although well worded and interesting. 

Creature Files Dragons is an attractive and interesting read for those interested in mythical creatures in general, and dragons in particular. It is far from comprehensive, but offers some good bits of legends, lore, and information. The artwork is very eye catching and well done, and I found myself studying the art much more intently that the text. I can think of many middle grade readers that will read, enjoy and likely re read this book- but at a fan of the topic I was hoping for a little bit more. 

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