Reviewed by Eloise Farmer
This inexpensive, 48–page, hardcover book is devoted to a single topic, the giant squid, though pictures and descriptions of similar organisms are covered as well. The book begins with historical accounts and early clues that a creature existed with huge tentacles that left huge sucker marks on sperm whales' skin. Beaks of giant squid were found in stomachs of these giant whales.These beaks and sucker marks resembled those of smaller squid. Giant squid bodies were sometimes hauled up in fishermen’s nets, and a photograph was made in Newfoundland as far back as 1873. People followed the evidence that such a creature existed, but it was often included in stories with Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster.
The adventures of science researcher Clyde Roper and his colleagues are featured throughout the book as they searched for more information about the rarely seen, mysterious creature described over centuries of sightings. A description of Roper’s close encounter with a Humboldt squid is accompanied by photos of this large and dangerous creature. Many photographs and diagrams of giant squid and other sea creatures can be found throughout the book.
The search for the squid is used as the basis for a chapter on how scientists solve mysteries, including finding clues, using autopsies, and instruments to observe and track organisms of interest. The readability of this book is aimed at children in grades 2 through 6, and it has many photographs and diagrams that would catch the interest of younger children who like to read about monsters. There is an index and a glossary, along with web links provided for those children motivated to learn more about giant squid and related topics. This would be a good addition to a classroom or library book shelf where children can select their free time reading materials.
Review posted on 6/19/2012