Thursday, August 05, 2010


The Monsterology Handbook - A Practical Course in Monsters
Dr. Ernest Drake - Author
Dugald A Steer - Editor
Various Illustrators

It is not often that we hear statements from a reluctant reader at home saying - "This is the best book that I have ever read". "My favourite book" and so on. Monsterology is one such book that has got a big enthusiastic welcome at home. Being a big fan of fantasy genre, it brought a big smile on me too.

The book is a basic preparatory handbook by Dr. Ernest Drake of Sanctuary of Fabulous Beasts, St. Leonard's Forest to understand and learn about various monsters. This is like Course 101 for understanding monsters. At end of the 3 month course, one would be provided a provisional Monsterological Licence. This handbook does not deal with the most fabulous of creatures - the dragons. There is a separate course for understanding and rearing dragons.

You, the reader, would be excused if would want to take a break and laugh/snort aloud now.

What is not there to enjoy and love in a book that begins like that.

It is a mock-non-fiction book (as a review in Amazon mentions) that helps you to identify various fabulous monsters that human mind has been able to cook up over ages. Almost every page is a big laugh-aloud for an adult. One could learn various cures from how to treat a unicorn's horn rot to ice fleas for an Yeti. There is also a section on how to distinguish monsters from false beasts like the Sea Bishop, Minotaur etc., that some charlatans make up to fool the public. It ends with a wonderful beast identification chart.

Although I enjoyed it a lot, as a parent I was a bit skeptical if the kid at home would take it a bit too seriously. There is a fine difference between loving fantasy and believing in them. Thankfully, when queried my son understood almost subconsciously that it was a just a fun book and not an actual non-fiction book.

It has some fine illustrations done in sepia tones by various artistes. A lovely book that was immensely enjoyed by both me and our 8 year old. If you or your kids are into fantasy, love making up fantastical stories and make up your monsters - this is definitely the book for you.


Choxbox said...

Okay so he's not the author always :)

The entire Ology series rocks! Thanks for bringing it to ST.

sandhya said...

You had me at "At end of the 3 month course, one would be provided a provisional Monsterological Licence." A and I love fantasy fiction, and some non-fiction is welcome too. Will look out for this one. Thanks, Satish.

utbtkids said...


Satish, would you believe if I said that I saw Daragonology in the library on Monday and thought about your family and Sheela of course?!

Very true about 'loving fantasy fiction and believing in fantasy fiction'.

Sheela said...

Ooh, I can't wait to spring this on Ana and see how it goes - meanwhile, I'll read it for myself and see if my chuckles and guffaws tease her enough :) Thanks, Satish!

sathish said...

Chox, True. The ology series sounds like a real fun. I am enamored by the whole idea and the person behind it.

Sandhya, fantasy fiction - nothing quite like it it :)

Utbt, Thanks :)

Sheela, there are chuckles a plenty in them. Enjoy!

PragmaticMom said...

Wow. That looks like a great book, especially for any reader who loves the How to Train Your Dragon series.

Thanks for your post!

Pragmatic Mom
Type A Parenting for the Modern World
I blog on children's lit, education and parenting.

Choxbox said...

@Pragmatic Mom: Coincidentally the entire Dragon series is being re-read today in these parts, for the nth time :)

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