Return of the Fearsome Critters

14 October 2009

Return of the Fearsome Critters
by Warren S. James
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
Review by Shanna Mann
$12.95 ISBN 978-1-894431-26-2

Have you heard of the horrible Hodag? Do you know what an Agropelter is? Regina storyteller Warren James has parlayed his interest in cryptozoology into this creative and original book of poems featuring some of the nearly lost creatures of North American folklore.

Each silly poem is preceded by a short encyclopedic entry (complete with pseudo-scientific name!) of the fearsome critter in question. The handsome facing illustrations by Susan Hopkins McQuarrie are reminiscent of Edward Gorey or Maurice Sendak. The whole family will enjoy the spooky illustrations and the amusing and inventive poems.

The poems are clearly meant to be read out loud, the same way that many years ago these stories were told by lamplight. Though the stories began as eerie tales told to frighten unwary greenhorns and travelers, the regrettable lack of gullible greenhorns (and the resultant lack of sightings) meant that these weird and terrifying creatures would have been almost forgotten, if not for the author and his delightful poems.

Take this book camping with you, or read it around the fireplace for an authentic feel. Try not to let yourself wonder… are the fearsome critters really just a story? Or do they only want us to think that?


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