Review: The Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods

Review  unnamed (3): The Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods: Twenty Chilling Tales from the Wilderness

6-8 Age Group  Catagorized 

Score: 1/5

Synopses: Twenty bone-chilling tales about the most dangerous fantastical beasts in American folklore. Meet the Snoligoster, who feeds on the shadows of its victims. The Hodag, like a spiny-backed bull-horned rhinoceros. The Hoop Snake, which can chase prey at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour and then, with one sting of its tail, cause it to turn purple, swell up, and die. Illustrated throughout, including eight drawings printed with glow-in-the-dark ink.

The book was originally published in 1910 by William Thomas Cox and is now inspiringly retold by Hal Johnson, author of Immortal Lycanthropes. The creatures are all scales and claws, razor-sharp teeth and stealth, camouflage and single-minded nastiness. Straight out of the era of Paul Bunyan, they speak to an earlier time in American history, when the woods were indeed dark and deep and filled with mystery.

My Review: I did not like this book at all. I am usually all over the 6-8 books as they are fun, quick reads. This one was not fun at all at. Maybe I am being a little bias because I know what age group this book is suppose to be for. If it was categorized for a older audience would it have changed my opinion? I don’t know.  It’s also not so much tales, as different events associated with the certain creatures mentioned.

I like the idea of it being reworked from a older book. I also love cryptozoology. It’s fun and imaginative and I have read some great things over the years with that concept in mind. The pictures are nice too. They are a little “scary” but they are well done and the glow in the dark is always fun.

My problem is that it was kinda violent and racist. I get it’s a reworking but maybe updated it to the times as well as taken it down a notch for the audience it’s aiming for. There is a lot of death, blood, destruction. The “animals” are vicious, and that’s okay but he doesn’t have to describe all the ways they kill people in each chapter. I love horror movies and books, and gore but for the age group it was too much. Plus the hate for French people? I just don’t get it. Lots of references to French people and how horrible they are (according to the author and/or previous author).

Again, would I feel differently if it was for a older kid…maybe. All I know is that I would never recommend this book to a kid.


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