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Nonfiction Monday: Giant Squid by Mary M. Cerullo

Giant Squid
By Mary M. Cerullo and Clyde F. E. Roper

Capstone Press

ISBN: 9781429675413
Grades 4-7
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Schuler Books | Your Library

Elusive beasts have always captured the imagination of kids. While jaded adults are convinced that Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and UFOs aren’t real, youngsters are eager to gather the facts and come to their own conclusions. Nothing is ruled out. Giant Squid, part of the Smithsonian series from Capstone, will appeal to fans of the unexplained. A fascinating look at the search for a real-life sea monster.

Long the stuff of legend, the giant squid is not a myth. We have proof of their existence. First-hand accounts are out there. Occasionally one will wash up on a beach, sending scientists swarming. But while we know they’re out there, these massive creatures are still largely a mystery. Giant Squid provides a brief history of these mollusks, then shifts focus to modern day scientist Clyde Roper and his efforts to track one down. The story follows Roper’s scientific process for gathering more information. The conclusion is worth the wait.

The text is efficient and engaging, always keeping sight of the big picture and never getting bogged down in unnecessary details. Every page brings another fascinating aspect of the giant squid. Those familiar with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Scientists in the Field series will be right at home here. Back matter includes a glossary, a list of websites and books for further exploration, and an author note.

The book is visually appealing and informative, using photos and illustrations to accompany the text. There are some jaw-droppers here, and the images of live giant squid at the end of the book will draw a lot of deserved attention.

A book that will hold pleasure reading and fact-finding appeal, Giant Squid is a worthy addition to your collection.

Review copy from publisher

Be sure to check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup at The Children’s War.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. nice review! thanks for sharing!

  2. I didn’t realize that there’s a Smithsonian series of nonfiction picture books. I better check out the other titles as well. Thanks for sharing this.

    • You’re welcome – it’s a new series, so there are just two titles so far, but promising stuff.