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If you’re looking for a fantastic new coffee table book, look no further than The Compendium of Magical Beasts: An Anatomical Study of Cryptozoology’s Most Elusive Beings by the fictional Dr. Veronica Wigberht-Blackwater. This stunning 194-page volume features 25 chapters, each devoted to a different mythical creature. It covers everything from mermaids to dragons to the fearsome jackalope, complete with impressively believable illustrations from Lily Seika Jones (you can find her Etsy shop here).
The introduction by writer Melissa Brinks details how she supposedly discovered the book while cleaning her attic, along with the results of her research into the history of Dr. Veronica Wigberht-Blackwater (complete with several old-timey photos). This is a nice touch that simultaneously lends an air of both authenticity and lightheartedness to the volume.
It combines biology with folklore, cultural studies, and history to create an almost-believable scientific journal that answers every question you’ve ever had about mythical creatures, including the age-old question: how DO mermaids reproduce? The thick pages are printed to look aged, and the cover is beautifully textured to give it the embossed feel of a vintage book.
The Compendium of Magical Beasts: An Anatomical Study of Cryptozoology’s Most Elusive Beings will be published on October 9th, 2018 by Running Press. You can purchase a copy here for $25, which is quite reasonable for such a high-quality book. It’s the perfect gift for all ages, from middle grade to adult; any words that might otherwise be confusing to younger readers are conveniently explained in the footnotes of each page.