Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Behind the Legend series 1.17.18

Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017
Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

There is always something mysterious in the unknown.  We've had many a mythical creature come alive for us through favorite books and movies, but what is the truth behind them?  Now there is a series that encourages us to take a deeper look into these fantastical beasts.

The Loch Ness Monster (Behind the Legend Book 1)     Bigfoot     Zombies

Werewolves     Unicorns
Behind the Legend series
written by Erin Peabody
illustrated by Jomike Tejido
published by little bee books

Each book presents facts, myths, and popular legends about the creature.  It's up to you to decide what to believe.

The books starts with an introduction to the beast, describing them as what most of us have heard - whatever pop culture typically has defined them as.  Subsequent chapters detail, usually in historical order, how the stories, or legends, came about.  Within the chapter are shorter page notes that give additional information from that time period.  Each page is accompanied by illustrations from either Victor Rivas or Jomike Tejido.  The illustrations are especially helpful when they depict some of the earlier visions of the creature, or what other cultures believed the creature to look like.

The author sets out to tell us both positive and negative beliefs about each animal.  Sometimes these creatures are believed to have magical features.  These ideas are explored throughout the chapters.  Other than the Unicorn, most of the subjects have many fearsome or gruesome or just crazy.... scary... stories that surround it.  Many of the more well known myths and stories are explored...debunked... and left up to you to decide the truth behind it.

The author does include some of the main sources used while researching these creatures and some fun fiction that explores them.  The author notes are not very extensive - I wish there had been some additional backmatter for further exploration.

This series is a fun one for young readers to discover.  Because of the amount of unknown information about these creatures, there is a lot to wonder and explore.  The historical parts can be a bit more complex to read.  I think this series is a great fit for middle grade libraries.


  1. Children are going to gobble up these books, Michele. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I'm sure these books will be popular! It isn't included, but I have a friend who is Norwegian, still as an adult was scared of the dark. She told that kids were told if they went out into the dark, trolls would capture them. Interesting tales passed down!

  3. This has been popular at our store. They're fun to pair with other novels or picture books they're reading.

  4. These would be so fun to read with Marc Aronson's book The Griffin and the Dinosaur, about an amateur scientist who followed a theory about how mythical creatures might be related to dinosaur fossils.

  5. I love books on myths and legends. This series looks amazing! I am going to be on the look out for it.

  6. This looks interesting. I have to check them out. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Love the book covers - it appears though that it's not Jomike who illustrated this, but Victor Rivas? I know Jomike - we have invited him here in Singapore to present at the Asian festival of children's content a few years back. :)

    1. You know what, it's really a total mystery to me. I read a couple of the books from the library and returned them. I have actual copies of Unicorns and Zombies. Both of them say they are illustrated by Jomike Tejido. Inside back cover or flap has his picture and bio. Yet, if you go to Amazon or Goodreads, the name on the front cover says Victor Rivas. I tried searching for some more information but haven't found anything yet!