‘Unnatural Creatures’: 16 tales of fantastic monsters
by Candace Whitman
“Unnatural Creatures” immerses readers into a world where werewolves, mermaids and other magnificent creatures are commonplace. The book contains 16 short stories by a variety of authors that have been selected by Neil Gaiman. He grouped the stories together with the common theme of mythical creatures and monsters. The book includes stories of werewolves, griffins, phoenixes and more. Readers who love Grimm’s fairytales will enjoy these whimsical and fantastical tales of mythical adventure.
Gaiman did a great job of choosing the stories for this book. Gaiman himself wrote one of the stories included. The stories are expertly grouped. There aren’t any stories that seem particularly out of place in any way. They are all well-written, intriguing and imaginative narratives about amazing creatures. There are a few stories that are slower to start than others, but each story is so different that readers will want to continue to find out how the story will progress to its conclusion.
As a college student, finding the time to read a book for fun can be a challenge. “Unnatural Creatures” is a perfect book for busy book lovers because each story is fairly short and stands on its own in the terms of plot. Readers can simply pick up the book when they have some free time and look through the table of contents to choose which story they would like to read.
The book also includes beautiful illustrations by Briony Morrow-Cribbs at the beginning of each story. The first story in the book, written by Gahan Wilson, is also illustrated throughout.
The story is about a seemingly simple spot on a table cloth that soon spirals out of control and is discovered to be some sort of creature. In the case of this story, the illustrations complete the story. Instead of saying the word “spot” in the story there is simply a picture of the creature. So readers are able to see what the characters are seeing as the story progresses. This was the perfect story to begin the book..
Another story in the book is called “The Griffin and the Minor Canon” by Frank R. Stockton. It is a story about a griffin, which is a creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion, who hears that there is a statue made in his likeness in a town nearby. He travels to the town to see the statue, but the town’s people are not happy to see him. They appoint the Minor Canon, or the clergyman, to get rid of the griffin, but even after seeing his statue the griffin is not so willing to leave. This entertaining and unnerving fable is one of the most enjoyable stories in the book.
The quirky and magical characters in “Unnatural Creatures” makes it a truly entertaining read. These stories may not be the next classic “Cinderella” or “Little Red Riding Hood” tale, but many of the stories told in this book have a similar feel that anyone who remembers day dreaming about magical and mythical creatures as a child will really enjoy.