Creature Files: Dragons – L.J. Tracosas

This book begins by asking if dragons were real (of course they were!) and exploring some of the commonalities between tales of dragons around the world. Twenty dragons are included in this dragon bestiary.

Information is provided about them, including the region, time period and habitat they were said to have lived, as well as whether they could fly or breathe fire. Attention is also given to their teeth and any special beliefs associated with them. Some were believed to be dangerous, while others were more benevolent.

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At the end of the book you’ll find some examples of animals that share some traits with dragons, like the dragonsnakes of Indonesia, which have scales and a mysterious nature.

The illustrations are quite detailed. Some children may find some of the pictures scary. There wasn’t as much information as I would have liked but it would be enough to whet the appetite of young readers. Some of the fonts used were difficult to read.

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Thank you so much to NetGalley and becker&mayer! kids, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Whether they were real or myth, Creature Files: Dragons shows you the folklore of twenty dragons from around the world and what the people believed about them.

Do you believe dragons are nothing more than the scaly stuff of myths? Or do you think they really existed? Whatever side you’re on, this collection of twenty fascinating creatures is sure to spark your imagination.

In Creature Files: Dragons, you’ll take a tour through the world of fire-breathing, gold-hoarding, three-headed monsters and discover where and how these magical creatures came to be. Learn the unique folklore of cultures around the globe, from China to Russia to Eastern Africa, and see how people envisioned these otherworldly beasts through lush and evocative illustrations.

Included are many meaty facts to gnaw on – like which dragon had too many teeth to count, and which dragon had teeth as big as an adult’s arm – along with a realistic dragon-tooth necklace! And science lovers will also find something to sink their teeth into: facts about real-life dragons that exist today. These dragons may not breathe fire, but they share some of the same traits as their mythical brethren. 

Creature Files: Reptiles – L.J. Tracosas

One of my earliest memories of school is when I attended a talk about snakes in the school library. At the end of the talk we were allowed to touch one of the snakes. Even though I was scared, I gently patted this snake and it felt incredible! I’ve been fascinated by them ever since. Because I live in the land of deadly creatures, I have spotted both brown and red-bellied black snakes in my yard but thankfully none have made their way inside my home (that I know of).

The information in this book will entirely freak you out, give you more respect for these cold-blooded creatures, or both. For each of the twenty reptiles featured, you will learn their scientific name and some fun facts, along with details about where they live, and their length and weight. There’s also a Danger Gauge and a Fang File, which includes a description and photograph.

I loved this book! I’m quoting my favourite fact for each reptile, although there’s plenty more where they come from.

Gila Monster – “Thanks to their fat-storing tails and their ability to digest really slowly, some scientists think these reptiles need to eat only three times a year!”

Gaboon Viper – “Instead of striking and releasing, like other snakes, the gaboon viper sinks its teeth in and holds on – injecting more venom into its victims than any other snake.”

Black Mamba – “These swift serpents are the fastest land snakes in the world, sprinting at speeds of up to 12.5 miles (20 km) per hour.”

American Alligator – “A single alligator can go through 3,000 teeth in its life.”

King Cobra – “While these deadly snakes can inject venom powerful enough to topple an elephant, they prefer to dine on other snakes.”

Rattlesnake – “Every time the rattlesnake sheds its skin, it gets another “ring”.” (on its tail)

Green Iguana – “they can swim underwater for up to 30 minutes.”

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Emerald Tree Boa – “You’ll usually find them coiled around a branch in a loop with their head in the middle.”

Inland Taipan – “The inland taipan is considered by many to be the world’s most venomous snake.”

Black Caiman – “Like other crocodilians, the black caiman has a broad snout filled with about 76 teeth.”

Tuatara – “A tuatara has two rows of teeth on the top jaw and one row on the bottom.”

Bush Viper – “This big-eyed snake has rough scales to help it grip the trees it climbs while hunting.”

Red Spitting Cobra – “Despite their name, spitting cobras don’t actually spit – they’re really shooting venom out of tubes in their fangs. The spray can reach up to 8 feet (2.4 m).”

Indian Gharial – “An Indian gharial has about 110 needle-like teeth lining its narrow jaws.”

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Boomslang – “If a boomslang thinks it’s been spotted, it will freeze, usually with the front of its body extended off the tree. They’ll even sway slowly, just like a tree branch moving in the breeze.”

Copperhead – “Copperheads have keeled scales, which means each scale has a ridge on it.”

Nile Crocodile – “Most reptiles leave their eggs and babies on their own, but Nile crocodiles guard their nests, help their babies hatch, and even keep an eye on them until they’re about two years old.”

Green Anaconda – “Weighing more than an adult lion and longer than a giraffe is tall, these colossal constrictors have an appetite for big prey.”

Komodo Dragon – “Dragons use their forked yellow tongues to smell, and they can catch the scent of a dead or bleeding animal up to 6 miles away.”

Leatherback Sea Turtle – “Out of 1,000 hatchlings, only one baby turtle will grow to be an adult.”

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Thank you so much to NetGalley and becker&mayer! kids, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Get nose to nose with twenty of the fastest, strongest, stealthiest, and most poisonous reptiles the planet Earth has to offer, with Creature Files: Reptiles.

From the deadly gaboon viper, with the longest fangs in the world, to the venomous Gila monster that lurks underground, reptiles have an extraordinary assortment of survival skills.

Fangs and venom aren’t these cold-blooded creatures’ only weapons: some are camouflaged to hide in plain sight, and others, like the Komodo dragon, have powerful claws for slashing prey. Still others use their awesome strength to overpower victims, like the green anaconda and its deadly squeeze or the saltwater crocodile and the 3,700 pounds of sheer force it puts into every bite!

Creature Files: Reptiles features twenty of the world’s most extraordinary reptiles, with reptilian profiles brought to life by vivid photographs and a host of intriguing facts. Each slithering or stalking animal comes with a Fang File to give you the lowdown on how it uses its teeth to pierce, crush, poison, or munch its meals. Can you match the three replica teeth included to the reptilian mouths they belong to?

Creature Files: Predators: Discover 20 of Nature’s Most Ferocious Hunters – L.J. Tracosas

This is the sort of book I would have loved to borrow from the library when I was a kid. It provides information about 20 predators, including wolverines, bald eagles, polar bears and Tasmanian devils. Readers will learn where each predator lives, their size and weight, and some introductory information about how they live.

Special attention is paid to claws and how each animal uses them, whether for hunting, defending themselves, climbing or burrowing. There are photos of each predator, including a close up of their claws.

My favourite facts were:

In one meal, a full-grown wolf can eat up to 20 pounds of meat – that’s like eating 80 hamburgers.

A grizzly’s claws can be up to 6 inches (15.2 cm) long and as thick as a person’s finger.

Once they sink their teeth in for even a single chomp, the Komodo dragon’s work is done. Their spit contains so many bacteria that even if dinner manages to get away, it’ll eventually collapse from the poison.

Thank you to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – becker&mayer kids! for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

There’s no need to fly around the world to see the more fearsome predators out there Creature Files: Predators brings them straight to you! Check out incredible animals from the arctic to the savanna.

Don’t make any sudden movements, because from the savanna to the snowy Arctic, vicious predators are poised to pounce! In Creature Files: Predators, you’ll take a tour around the globe, learning about hunters like the lightning-fast peregrine falcon and the elusive snow leopard.

Experience the fascinating world of claws and talons through this guide filled with juicy facts to chew on – like how grey wolves can eat up to twenty pounds in one meal, and the largest land predator (the polar bear) can weigh up to 1,200 pounds. Animal lovers will find plenty of tidbits, such as which creatures are fastest, where they live and what they eat.

With beautiful photos on every page, this interactive tour also includes maps and even three realistic replica claws of some of the world’s most fearsome predators!

Creature Files: Sharks – L.J. Tracosas

🦈 SHARK!!! 🦈

I’ve been fascinated by sharks ever since I first watched Jaws when I was too young to know he couldn’t come through the shower head in pieces, magically reform and attack me while I showered (true story! 🤪), so naturally this is my type of non-fiction kid’s book. There’s enough information to maintain your interest but not so much that you get bored or succumb to information overload.

It’s the sort of book I would have used for school projects in primary school and would have enjoyed reading it just for fun as well. Besides all of the cool shark facts there are plenty of quality photographs of the various sharks and the layout is eye catching. While there’s plenty to look at on each page it doesn’t look overly cluttered.

Of the over 400 types of shark, Creature Files: Sharks provides information and photographs of twenty. I personally learned a lot while reading this book and the facts below are only a snippet of what you’ll discover.

🦈 Great White Shark – My mate Bruce from Jaws is probably the most famous Great White. These sharks can have up to 300 teeth!

🦈 Bull Shark – These are the sharks most likely to attack people and have been found with strange objects in their stomachs including licence plates!

🦈 Mako Shark – The Fastest Shark award 🏆 goes to the Mako.

🦈 Sand Tiger Shark – A sand tiger shark in a New York aquarium lived more than twice as long as the average wild sand tiger shark.

🦈 Nurse Shark – Nurse sharks live at the bottom of the ocean.

🦈 Cookiecutter Shark – The bellies of these sharks glow in the dark.

🦈 Tiger Shark – Tiger Sharks have the nickname “garbage can of the sea”.

🦈 Greenland Shark – The Slowest Shark award 🏆 goes to the Greenland Shark.

🦈 Spiny Dogfish – These sharks have been overfished and are in danger of extinction.

🦈 Lemon Shark – Their eyesight is poor so they need to rely on other senses to find food.

🦈 Sawshark – Their prey include shrimp, worms and shellfish.

🦈 Basking Shark – They form groups (schools) that can range from a couple up to 100 sharks, unlike most other sharks who are loners.

🦈 Frilled Shark – Rarely seen alive by humans, Frilled Sharks live at the bottom of the ocean.

🦈 Blue Shark – World travellers, these sharks swim about 1000 miles (1609 kilometres) each year.

🦈 Wobbegong Shark – They have flat bodies and are a type of carpet shark.

🦈 Leopard Shark – Groups of leopard sharks are social and are known to hang out with other types of sharks.

🦈 Great Hammerhead Shark – Their favourite food are stingrays but will also eat sharks, including other hammerheads.

🦈 Goblin Shark – Only 50 Goblin Sharks have been seen since they were first discovered in the late 1800’s.

🦈 Megamouth Shark – Megamouths are filter-feeders.

🦈 Whale Shark – The Largest Fish in the Sea award 🏆 goes to the Whale Shark.

Each shark file provides ‘fast facts’ which include the length of the shark and a picture showing the size comparison of that shark and a person (in feet and metres), how much the shark weighs (in pounds and kilograms) and a world map highlighting where it lives. I love that each shark file contains a Shark Bite that explains what that type of shark eats, what its teeth look like and for the majority of sharks an accompanying close up photo of its smile.

Included with the book are three replica teeth that kids can identify using their new knowledge and they can make a shark tooth necklace with the cord that’s also included. I would’ve loved wearing that necklace as a kid.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – becker&mayer! kids for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Peek into the jaws of 20 of the ocean’s most dangerous predators with the next title in the Creature Files series! Creature Files: Sharks features photos, facts, and maps that provide up-close tours of some of the most terrifying sharks in the seas.

Did you know that a shark can grow over 20,000 new teeth in its lifetime? Or that some sharks will eat anything, from tiny fish to license plates from cars?

An incredible amount of information about sharks can be revealed by examining the teeth and jaws of the 20 jaw-snapping species covered here, in Creature Files: Sharks. From aggressive sharks like the great white to the truly weird ones like the goblin shark, this book is packed with awesome photos and fascinating facts about the ocean’s most amazing predators.   

Three specially molded replica teeth are included in the front cover, so you can feel the power of a shark’s real bite – and deduce which sharks the teeth come from using your new shark-bite expertise.

This book also includes a breakaway cord to make your own shark-tooth necklace!