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The myth of the Kraken and the portrayal of the giant squid as a huge predator have been kept alive in front of movie cameras—and in the pages of books—for a long time.” Here There Be Monsters

Here There Be Monsters: The Legendary Kraken and the Giant Squid

by HP Newquist
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Sailors claimed that these faraway places were inhabited by mysterious beasts and sea serpents. To warn of the dangers lurking on land and under the sea, mapmakers wrote words that would chill the hearts of even the bravest explorers: “Here There Be Monsters.” 

One of those monsters that caused fear in sailors all over the world had huge eyes, an enormous head, and a razor-sharp beak. Most terrifying of all were its tentacles and slithering arms, each lined with hundreds of suckers. The creature was strong enough to grab an entire ship and drag it down—along with all the men on it—to the dark depths of the ocean. This monster was the legendary Kraken. 

From ancient Greeks and Phoenicians to the Vikings and even American fishermen, those who sailed the seas hoped to steer clear of the Kraken and the destruction it could wreck. At the same time, this terrifying creature lured artists and scientists into the dark, watery world. Their stories and images of the Kraken have thrilled readers on dry land for centuries. 

In Here There Be Monsters, you will see with your own eyes how long-ago myths about the Kraken transformed into the modern study of Architeuthis dux, the giant squid. Weaving scientific discovery with historical accounts—along with the giant squid’s appearance in film and literature—Here There Be Monsters explores the mystery of this creature in animating details. Readers will find that the monster remains hidden no longer because scientists have finally seen the Kraken with their own eyes . . . alive and rising up out of the sea. 

Whether you’re writing a research paper or are just fascinated by tales of giant squids, you will find Here There Be Monsters to be an engaging and educational book that is hard to put down. The beginning of the book explores sailors’ tales of monsters that live in the deep and includes excerpts from Moby Dick, The Odyssey, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The book explores the origins of stories about the Kraken and the history of squid stories. The stories are fascinating and include information about the early scientists who studied the giant squid. Here There Be Monsters is packed full of interesting facts that make the non-fiction book hard to put down. 

Since the book uses scientific terminology, readers may struggle with some of the language. However, readers will be able to use context clues to figure out the word’s meaning. Most of the information is explained with easy-to-understand descriptions with pictures and other illustrations used to give readers visuals. Almost every page of the book has a graphic element—maps, photographs, drawings, and illustrations from books—that helps break up the text. The close-up photographs of the giant squid’s tentacles will leave readers with nightmares because “inside the suckers on the clubs of its tentacles are individual hooks—like small tiger claws—that stick out of the suckers. They can each swerve individually, like probing razors.”  

Even though the colossal squid is enormous, there is still very little that is known about the creature. “Humans have been to the moon six times and retrieved more than two thousand rocks. . . Yet scientists have collected only about two dozen specimens of the colossal squid, a creature that lives less than one mile under the ocean.” The giant squid and the colossal squid are both fascinating creatures that readers will enjoy learning about. Plus, readers will be amazed by the pictures of one of the only colossal squid that scientists have been able to study outside the ocean. Here There Be Monsters will also spark readers’ imaginations as they wonder what scientists still have to learn about the ocean creature.  

One of the first works of fiction that described the giant squid was Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. For a more modern interpretation of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, check out Fire the Depths by Peter Lerangis—the fiction book will captivate readers by showing them an imaginative tale that takes place deep under the ocean. 

Sexual Content 

  • None 


  • According to a sailor, “the beast would rise up silently from the ocean deep and wrap its arms around a ship, trying to drag it under water. As it struggled, the monster grabbed sailors and tossed them into water, where they would soon become the monster’s food.” 
  • Another sailor said that a giant squid attacked his ship and “the sailors on the ship survived certain death only by hacking off the monster’s arms with swords, knives, and axes.”  
  • Two fishermen were out fishing when a giant squid “fiercely grabbed the boat, pulling it down into the water. The two men were sure to be dragged under and become the thing’s next meal. As the boat tipped over, one of the men grabbed an ax and slashed at the tentacles, hacking at them until he cut them from the monster’s body.”  
  • Researchers were using bait to try to get photographs of a giant squid. The squid “became entangled in the line and the researchers pulled it to the surface. . . The red giant splashed savagely around the boat, fighting against the line. . . it died from the struggle.” 
  • Scientist uses bait to trap a giant squid. “Over the course of four hours, it attempted to get away as it shredded the bait . . . Finally, the Architeuthis pulled the line so hard that it tore its tentacle right off. Then it sank back into the darkness.” 

Drugs and Alcohol 

  • None 


  • None


  • None

Spiritual Content 

  • None 
Other books you may enjoy

The myth of the Kraken and the portrayal of the giant squid as a huge predator have been kept alive in front of movie cameras—and in the pages of books—for a long time.” Here There Be Monsters

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