Friday, 10 July 2020

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 10th July 2020: "Lumberwoods: The (in)complete guide to fearsome critters" by Alec (CFComix) Anderson (Self Published / Amazon)

We do love a spooky book, and we also love the grand oral tradition of stories about mythical creatures, and the way they become part of the cultural fabric of the folk who pass these tales on through the generations.

 All around the world every country on the planet has its own list of weird and wonderful creatures. Some end up being scientifically classified but then there are those - the cryptids - that defy classification, evade capture - and yet feature time and time again when you start to look at eyewitness accounts and bodies of evidence.

Alec's fantastic and imaginative illustrations feature throughout the book. Drunken Cactus Cat is definitely one of our faves!

Super-mystery-sleuth Alec Anderson has dug deep into the ephemera of North American, Canadian and Alaskan creature mythology, coming up with an absolutely essential modern guide to some of the weird and wonderful mythical inhabitants of the great forested areas peppering the North American land mass. 

The Tripodero - Don't get caught out, pardner!

"Lumberwoods: The (in)complete Guide to Fearsome Critters" is an exquisitely researched bestiary of wild and wonderful creatures rumoured to be rustling through the undergrowth in these areas, waiting for a weary unsuspecting traveller to end up as their next meal. 

Alec accompanies his detailed explanations of each creature with his own interpretations of them, making this book even more of a draw.

The hodag. Not a critter you want to get on the wrong side of!

What they eat, how they live, how they reproduce and even their strange and often unique 'special powers' are examined in great detail here, with an enviable host of creatures to choose from, including bizarre ball-tailed cats who beat their chests to attract mates, to the wily hoop snake - a slithery creature blessed with the perfect getaway system if an aggressor tries to attack it. 

As someone who was completely obsessed with the unexplained mysteries of our planet as a kid, I was completely hooked in by this. Some of the creatures I was fairly familiar with, but reading about ones I'd never heard of made this book really exciting and page-turningly brilliant. It made me feel like a ten year old again, discovering books like "Arthur C. Clarke's World of Mysteries" or "Strange Creatures from Time and Space" by John A. Keel. 

To think that this kid is barely into double figures, age wise! Yet he's turning stuff like this out? 

I think he's going to be one to watch, don't you?

What I particularly liked about this was that when I showed it to my daughter it instantly got her buzzing about her own book ideas. Alec's an inspiration to everyone - proving that you can take on a subject dear to your heart and with a pinch of creative magic, turn it into a truly fascinating read.

Oh dear, cry me a river poor thing!

We would very much like to see a followup volume but whatever young Alec turns his hand to, we can't wait to see what he comes up with next. 

Sum this book up in a sentence: A truly fabulous and weird mix of strange and surreal creatures that stalk the backwoods of America, Alaska and Canada, written and illustrated by a mini powerhouse of creativity.

"Lumberwoods: The (In)complete Guide to Fearsome Critters" by Alec Anderson is available now through Amazon (Kindle version available now, with a physical version to follow soon):