The Hidden Bestiary of Marvelous, Mysterious, and (maybe even) Magical Creatures

written by Judy Young

I’m Basil B. Barnswhitten and I have a quest
To find hidden creatures that I like best,
Then help me determine if those I have listed
Are extinct or endangered or never existed!

Go with Basil B. Barnswhitten on his journeys around the world in search for his favorite creatures! Finding them won’t be easy as the lushly, detailed illustrations not only serve as camouflage, but also as habitats for other creatures as well! And while searching, use the clues in the poems to answer three questions: Is it alive? Is it extinct? Did it ever exist? A field guide in the back can help your search by giving more specific information about each animal.


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ISBN: 978-1-58536-433-6 Category:

Written by Judy Young
Illustrated by Laura Francesca Filippucci

Published by Sleeping Bear Press, 2009

Hard Cover, 32 pp.


  • 2011/2012 Louisiana Young Readers Choice Award Nomination


Kirkus Review: “Reporting in verse on his world-spanning travels, naturalist B.B. Barnswhitten sets out in search of 14 rarely (or never) seen creatures from the golden toad to the Loch Ness Monster. He has no success, but sharp-eyed readers will … fans of Graeme Base’s Water Hole (2001) and its ilk will enjoy playing “spot the beastie.”

The Deepening: “Delightful, The Hidden Bestiary by Judy Young, is an adventure, an exploration, and a series of visual puzzles set to marvelous prose, all rolled into a wonderful, exquisitely produced volume guaranteed to enchant both young and old. I shared it with my “test” kids, ages four through thirteen, and “enthralled” is the word. They each couldn’t wait to get to hold the book themselves and page through it, looking at all there was to see. And the discussion throughout between the kids was great…”

Katie’s Lit Lounge: “The whole I-Spy! concept takes on an entirely new approach in this incredibly fun book of marvelous, mysterious and magical creatures! Readers embark on an adventure with explorer Basil Bernard Barnswhitten to track down these (sometimes) alive, extinct and possibly non-existent creatures camouflaged amidst their true-life surroundings. The book is not only a unique way to introduce children to this explorer, but also encourages them to explore and take away from poetry, information that will assist them in locating each of these creatures!”

A Patchwork of Books: “By deciphering the clues in his journal, young explorers can accompany B.B.Barnswhitten as he tries to locate each mysterious creature. But finding them won’t be easy. Lush, detailed scenes serve not only as camouflage, but also as habitats to other strange and fascinating marvels. Can you see what’s right before your eyes?” Written by Judy Young, B.B.B.’s journal of poetic clues is great for kids to not only practice reading poetry, but also to make it into a fun activity. The reader is able to read the clue, do sort of a “search-and-find” activity, and locate just what the explorer is looking for. I loved the “Field Guide of Basil B. Barnswhitten,” in the back, which is really an animal guide to all the strange animals the explorer was looking for throughout the book. We’re given a picture of each creature, including the jackalope, the basilisk, the dodo, etc. and give “facts” on their habitat, behavior, diet, and extinction status, along with a physical description.”