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Fantastical Creatures and Where to Find Them (in Literature)

illustration of a phoenix-like creature with red and orange plumage breathing fire

Feed your imagination’s hunger for tales of magical and mythical beings and beasts with these recommended titles. 

By Amy Chenaille, Youth Services Manager, Pohick Regional Library

Animals seem to be endlessly fascinating to humans. Throughout our history they have been worshipped, studied, domesticated and adored. Today we keep all kinds of animals as pets in and around our homes. But it’s not just our pets and the wild animals around the globe that we care about.

Fantastical or mythical animals enthrall us, too. Sea monsters, unicorns, dragons and other creatures have had their stories told generation after generation. Tales from Beowulf to Harry Potter and beyond feed our longing for animals that can never live outside our imagination. Would any of us turn down a ride from a griffin or the chance to see a phoenix in flight? Or maybe you would prefer to swim with selkies, mermaids and sirens.

While we can’t experience them in the real world, we can enjoy the great stories of fantastical creatures that continue to be told by talented authors. Start with the suggested books below, then ask at your branch or use our My Perfect Read service to uncover more exciting titles on the subject.

  • fantastical creatures book coversCrown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

  • Veronyka dreams of using her magic to bond with a phoenix and ride it as a warrior. When her safety is threatened by the sister she trusted, Veronyka flees home and disguises herself to join the secret group still flying phoenixes.
  • Hunter by Mercedes Lackey

  • Protecting her community from the monsters since she was a child, Hunter Joyeaux Charmand is summoned to Apex City to protect the most important people and to face the worst of the monsters.
  • Burn by Patrick Ness

  • Sarah’s father hired the dragon Kazimir to help on the farm. For unknown reasons Sarah is drawn to Kazimir, and, for a creature with supposedly no soul, he is surprisingly intent on keeping her safe. There is more to why Kazimir came than farm work, and Sarah wants to find out.
  • Bull by David Elliott

  • Elliott presents the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur in verse, revealing that while the Minotaur is part bull and part man, it is so much more than two pieces of a whole.
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