We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2018 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.
This nonfiction picturebook title is a random library find. I now know which area of the library I should visit to find the surreal and strange titles that would fit our current reading theme. While not about crime – it definitely fits the mysterious element to a T.
Written and Illustrated by Jim Arnosky
Published by Disney-Hyperion (2011)
ISBN-10: 1423130286 (ISBN13: 9781423130284)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
There are quite a number of seemingly inexplicable things, animals, creatures in our universe. Jim Arnosky takes a stab at some of them by going aboard his small boat called Crayfish on Lake Champlain, as he wondered about the unnamed, marvelous, and mysterious creatures hiding in the dark depths of the lake.
Arnosky featured only a few fairly-popular creatures in this nonfiction but also very personal narrative: giant sharks, giant squids, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Lake Champlain Monster.
I especially appreciated his conversational, engaging tone that would undoubtedly reel any reader in, reluctant or otherwise. While text-heavy, the facts shared are fascinating and told in a highly accessible and inviting manner. The vision in my mind as I was reading the book was that of a grandfather narrating scary stories with a dab of truth in them to a group of young ones huddled in a campfire.
Arnosky also started off by talking about cryptozology, the science that aims to discover the truth behind mysteries and reports of animals that are yet unknown to most scientists. He also wrote about involving his grandsons and his wife in this adventure of exploring mysterious creatures in Lake Champlain and lowering a light-equipped camera into the lake to discover marvels.
My favourite, however, is his message to young readers in the end: so powerful, affirming, and inspiring. If I had read this as a young child, I would probably have gone into cryptology for the mystery of it!
Keep an open mind. Today’s mystery could be tomorrow’s science. You may grow up to be the first marine biologist to study the habits and migration patterns of a rediscovered plesiosaur, or become a conservationist whose job is to protect the habitat of a newly discovered North American ape.
I hope we solve the mysteries of Bigfoot, Champ, and Nessie. And when we do, I hope new mysteries crop up to take their place. We need mystery.
Indeed, we do.
#LitWorld2018GB Update: United States of America (Jim Arnosky lives in Vermont)