For much the same reasons as Krisztianna’s Creatures of Legend coloring book, I recommend Darren J. Gendron’s The Monster Alphabet to any gamer parent or anyone who would like to give a gamer mom or dad a perfect dose of 26 monsters for them to share with their own little monster. The Monster Alphabet is affordable at $12, features wonderful ominous illustrations by Obsidian Abnormal, and packs in a lot of information on every page.
Each page has one of the letters of the alphabet, a creature whose name begins with that letter, and a little rhyme that Gendron came up for the monster. Gendron also provides a pronunciation guide, the ethnic origin of the myth or legend the creature is drawn from, and Fun Facts about the creature. As an adult fan of mythology some of the Fun Facts were revelations. Did you know that the myth that Hernán Cortés was mistaken by the Aztecs for Quetzalcoatl was actually spread by Cortés himself? How is your pronunciation of Cù Sìth (coo shee)? Despite reading mentions of Ourboros motifs in ancient artwork elsewhere (and collecting a Circle Orboros army for Privateer Press’s Hordes), I was ignorant of just what an Ourboros is, a serpent eating its own tale, or as Gendron glosses, “He who eats the tail.” The Monster Alphabet also has another Ourboros in the form of the more familiar Norse World Serpent Jörmungandr for J. I was also introduced to the lightning cat Raiju, the Hindu simian Vanara, and the French Melusine which is similar to a freshwater naiad. The Aztecs supply both the Q and the X, the serpentine Quetzalcoatl and the Xiuhcoatl, with the Chinese providing the avian Zhu Que.
Obsidian Abnormal’s illustrates with menacing figures who retain a cute edge, which is why I think the book will be perfect for most gamer parents who are a bit darker or edgier themselves. The only objectionable image that would give me second thoughts about buying The Monster Alphabet for a school or classroom library is the Melusine’s topless mermaid form. Her breasts are concealed by her golden locks, but such an illustration can be quite distracting and disruptive in a classroom environment. Otherwise I doubt that most conservative parents would really object to the book in this day and age.
Currently The Monster Alphabet is exclusively available over at Swag Shark, but this charming book may eventually find wider distribution.