Sunday, June 29, 2008

Baleful Beasts and Eerie Creatures

A spooky little book, which I purchased new in 1976, and has since become somewhat of a collector's item. It's comprised of nine short stories by nine different authors, an introduction by science fiction author Andre Norton, and beautifully illustrated by Rod Ruth.

I'm constantly surprised at what trivial nonsense can be found on the Internet, and yet strangely I've found virtually nothing about illustrator Rod Ruth. I was already aware of this artist from his work on many of the "Album of..." books ("Album of Dinosaurs" being one of my be featured in a future post.) Here he provides a full page, full color illustration for each story, plus a small black and white title graphic for each.

The interior cover spread, illustrating a scene from "The Spell of Spirit Stones" by Alice Wellman.

The contents of the book are as follows:

Introduction by Andre Norton
The Patchwork Monkey by Beverly Butler
The Yamadan by Lynne Gessner
Monster Blood by Charles Land
Tigger by A.M. Lightner
The Spell of Spirit Stones by Alice Wellman
The Night Creature by Richard R. Smith
To Face a Monster by Carl Henry Rathjen
You Are What You Eat by Wilma Bedmarz
Nightmare in A Box by Rita Ritchie

In a future post I'll get into more detail about individual stories. My favorite is the creepy The Patchwork Monkey. You can see the little guy on the cover image at top, sitting benignly on the tree branch just below the rooster-looking Basilisk monster.

The Patchwork Monkey apparently had an impact on quite a few readers... it was even translated into a short film in 2003, although I haven't seen it. There's an entry for it at IMDB here.
Stay tuned for more about "Baleful Beasts and Eerie Creatures"...

UPDATED: Subsequent posts related to this book can be found here, here, and here.


Steven Altis said...

One of my favorite books when I was little! Scarred me for life in so many wonderful ways!

Unknown said...

I loved this book as a kid! IT was in my elementry school liberary and I was dissapointed to find out that it's out of print and the only places I've found it for sale are charging at least 150$ for it. I really wish it would be re-printed!

David W. said...

Hey Bill,

I hope you're well, and you get this message left on a 2008 post...

Click here
if you'd like to see a new post of mine with a little more of Rod Ruth's work.

Brother Bill said...

David W.--Thanks for stopping by, and belated congratulations on your incredible Haunted Mansion LP animation. It left me wanting MORE MORE MORE!

Anna Huckabee said...

I don't suppose there's any chance you could scan all of the book and post the images, could you? This book is wicked hard to find, and I would dearly love to read it again. I am so stoked to finally identify the book that scared me so bad when I was a kid (The Yamadan was the worst, also Nightmare in a Box).

brain_spoon said...

My life is now a holy quest to find a copy of this book.

Unknown said...

I kept checking this book out at the school library as a kid until the battle axe of a librarian decided I needed to check something else out instead! Loved it!!