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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Mythical Creatures of Maine: Fantastic Beasts from Legend and Folklore by Christopher Packard serves as both an encyclopedia and a field guide to the creatures of Maine and to the state itself through the creatures explored. The stories are drawn from the French, British, and Wabanaki settlements and come from extensive research. The stories came from the various lumbermen, river drivers, gum pickers, trappers, and sailors that encountered them and passed these stories on through the generations. The creatures include well-known names such as Bigfoot, magical creatures like fairies, elves, and mermaids, and some you've never heard of before such as Come-at-a-body, Hide-behind, and Billdad.
Take a step into the scenic wonderland of Maine and discover fairies, Bigfoot, and other creatures that go beyond our imaginations. The book is structured as a field guide but it also contains within it an encyclopedia of the wondrous creatures that have faded into the background of Maine's folklore. Their role blends the fantasy and reality of the state while showing the hidden wonders within the wilderness that are there if we simply take the time to look. The field guide takes you on an adventure into the world at the edge of our reality. It brings to life these creatures of Maine that include some well-known beings such as Bigfoot, giants, lake serpents, fairies (also including forest elves, river elves, and silent elves), and mermaids. You'll be introduced to other creatures for the first time such as the Agropelters (ape-like creatures that throw dead branches), a mixed-up animal called the Billdad, the Dingmaul (which use their tails to break trees), the Dungavenhooter (snorts a lot to clear its nostrils), and the ice hornets. Each creature presented highlights a part of Maine's past and lore that adds another layer to the history of the state.
According to the author, it takes a little bit of magic to see these creatures in their natural environment but to see this magic, first, it takes a little bit of imagination which Christopher Packard highlights through each creature. The book also contains illustrations that give humorous and detailed visuals of the various creatures, along with maps of the locations where they can be found. Mythical Creatures of Maine serves as a reminder to appreciate the wilderness, a guidebook into the folklore of the state, and inspiration to let your imagination explore.