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Care of Magical Creatures

October 21, 2007

how to live with a unicornHow to Live with a Unicorn: The Fantastic Guide to Keeping a Mythical Pet by Jane Moseley
Say you’re looking for a pet. Something exotic, something that no one else has. Something…mythological. Look no further than How to Live with a Unicorn, which will help you select the right mythological creature for your circumstances.

How to Live with a Unicorn is a tongue-in-cheek (“One mermaid captured by a Dutch ship in the 17th century CE refused to speak for thirty days before making her escape”) examination of 27 different mythical creatures. Each creature gets four pages, beginning with a brief description, then moving on to character, what you need to care for it, feeding habits, veterinary care, companion pets, and a “Fun things to do with your…” section. It’s in full color, with lots of graphics and enough snark to make it appropriate for teens and adults instead of children. An entertaining, diverting book, but best in small doses.

monsterThe Monster Hunter’s Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Saving Mankind from Vampires, Zombies, Hellhounds, and Other Mythical Beasts by Ibrahim S. Amin
If you’ve read How to Live with a Unicorn, you know that mythological creatures can be persnickety or unfriendly. But what about those creatures that are downright evil? The Monster Hunter’s Handbook is your B(asilisk)-to-Z(ombie) source to figuring out the best way to attack over twenty kinds of monsters, plus the weapons and armor that can help you in your battle. Too bad this wasn’t in Sam and Dean‘s library, or the information in their father’s journal, because I would have loved to see them defeat the djinn in the way described on page 25.

Each entry on monsters begins with a description and killing methods, and concludes with a summary of its dangers, weaknesses, souvenirs you can get from it, and selected sources that discuss said monster (like Ovid’s Metamorphoses and The Epic of Gilgamesh). Weapons and armor each come with their own history, description and combative applications, as well as selected sources. The entries vary in length and all are accompanied by illustrations; however, I found the illustrations too modern looking compared to the cover and gothic font used in the chapter headings. The Monster Hunter’s Handbook won’t appeal as widely as How to Live with a Unicorn. It’s less amusing, with fewer graphics, and in black and white. For fans of the supernatural. Or “Supernatural.”

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