Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Monster! Monster!

Don't suppose anyone remembers around this time last year? When I did a "feature" on the Children's Britannica Book of Ghosts? Well, I did, and now here's its counterpart/sequel - and it's all about monsters!

The REAL monster here is my inability to properly scan a hardback book held together with Sellotape, so expect slap-dash levels of image quality throughout.
Also, looking back, I'm not exactly "good" at captions, so we'll let the book do most of the talking this time around...

See what I mean about the scanning?

Ah, the Lambton Worm! That's the kind of image that sticks with you your whole life. I've had this book for over twenty years, so imagine my surprise/enjoyment when I saw Ken Russell's The Lair of the White Worm, which is VERY loosely based on the tale...

On a similar note - two years ago I went to that London and saw the Crystal Palace dinosaurs "in the flesh", so to speak. It was a fairly thrilling moment after looking at that picture so obsessively as a nipper. Even managed to take more or less that exact same photo! Should you ever find yourself in that part of the world, it's worth seeing.

A nice page for junior cryptozoologists there...

This page would be slightly depressing if this book was made nowadays instead of in the Seventies - we'd just have a picture of someone sitting in front of a computer (nostalgic blah blah blah).

These two are my favourite pages "nowadays".


  1. I used to have this book, though I'd forgotten all about it - the memories came back once I saw that picture of the Lambton Worm! And the "Mechni-Kong" picture fascinated me as a kid, I used to attempt to draw it and tried to imagine what the actual model and film looked like.

    1. It's funny how one image can bring back so many, right?

      Turns out that Mechni-Kong is from King Kong Escapes - a film I acquired recently (well, seven years ago) but have yet to watch. The mystery's nearing revelation!

  2. Blimey! Forgotten how gory some of the pictures could be in these books...The Lambton Worm and half-eaten dinosaurs would most likely have the Daily Mail in a frenzy if they were printed in kiddy books these days! ;-)

  3. I was totally taken aback to memory lane when I saw and remembered the dinosaur pages,along with the Lambton Worm! I remember renting those series of books in the very end of the 80s in my local library. Gob smacking to see those images and pages again. I remember the other books in the series about Space,Aliens, and there was another set of those Childrens Britannica books that covered history and the animal world,I think. By any chance, do you have any more of those books, and can you scan some of them??

    1. Thanks for the comments there - I have the one about "Ghosts", it can be found elsewhere on this blog, and I MIGHT have the one about aliens somewhere around here... I'll scan it if it turns out I do have it.

      I've got the Usborne "Supernatural World" series, if that interests you?

  4. The Usborne Supernatural World series- I looked around online,and found it on amazon,and it didnt ring any memory bells with me. I dont think that it was in my library at the time.
    But oh yes indeed,if you do by chance have the "Aliens" book in those other series, then that would be just awesome if you could scan that! I checked out the Ghosts one aswell,and yes ,that too dragged me back to memory lane.

    Again, it was a blast finding the Monsters book scanned here. Do you remember, or know about the other series of books in these Children's Britannica series? I know there were books on historical things , and wildlife aswell. But,they are nowhere to find online,to buy even.
    Thanks again for your help and scans!! A real welcome invite to memory lane.

    1. Well, as a youngster my interests rarely went beyond ghosts, monsters and dinosaurs, so it was rare for books on any other subject to enter my life. Looking at the back of the books though, there IS a list of other titles...

      The full list seems to be:

      5-Stars & Planets
      10-Future Cities
      11-Star Travel
      15-Model Aircraft
      16-Model Railways

      Have to admit that now, MOST of those sound interesting! Worth hunting down, definitely. Just out of curiosity I've had a look for them on Amazon just now - none of them are there! Didn't realise how "rare" my books were... Noticed on eBay, someone was selling ten of them together for £19.99 and they didn't sell, which is a shame. But that DOES mean they may pop up there in the future, who knows?

    2. I remember those titles,and would Love to see them again, scanned or whatever!!! As for a "History" series of these books I keep seeing in the mind,well I might have gotten the memory wires crossed a bit.
      The "Usborne" series you mentioned-I didnt remember that,but looked around,and found that they had a book- the very same layout and picture story telling formula as the Childrens Britannica series here- and I saw a book called "The age of Revolutions". Boom- the front cover picture boomed back to the present,and I found it on amazon to order!
      There was another one on different tribes- aztecs, celts that I got too.

      One thing- the Childrens britannica series that we are chatting about here,I noticed online elsewhere that they were also released under the Usborne banner- same cover, same content and layout, just under a different name. Maybe thats why I got the memory wires crossed thinking that the history book I remembered was also included within the "Childrens Britannica series". Either way, the books I ordered are on the way!

    3. Glad there's a happy ending of sorts there!

      Makes sense that they also appeared as Usborne books... Just noticed this bit of small print on the back cover of one of them:

      "Children's Britannica World of Science and Mystery is a special edition for schools, published by Encyclopaedia Britannica International, Ltd. The original trade edition of these volumes is published in both paperback and hardback by Usborne Publishing."

      "Mystery" solved! Should make it easier to find a few of those interesting-sounding ones myself now, as well. Hope you enjoy your books once they arrive.

  5. The books I found and ordered online arrived over the last coupla weeks,and they sure did carry an amazing amount of memories suddenly rewired into the mind, upon happily browsing thru the pages again. The Usbourne "Age of Revolutions" and "Empires and Barbarians" were awesome to see once more, some of the pages and images jumped at me as though it was 25 years ago again.
    Same goes for the Monsters book here,which I subsequently got, along with the UFO book in the same series. The one I got, was under the guise of the Usborne name, though with the same inside content.
    Im on the lookout for some more of these books online that I remember now,and thanks to happening upon this site one nite,I got total recall of what they all were. Thanks again, mate.

    1. Great news there, glad to hear it! Did you get the Ghosts book as well? It's a good one. I've still got a massive list of books from my past that I have no idea of the titles/authors of, so can only rely on stumbling across them somehow (like you did, here).

      You might be able to help with one of them here - the UFO book. Does it have a page which is a big spread picture of an American policeman scrambling up a hill (towards "us") while a white, egg-shaped spaceship sits in the valley behind him?

  6. That image you mentioned is not in the UFO book,mate. The images that jumped back at me upon seeing the UFO book was a page showing you how to make yer own "fake UFO" photos, with a silver lampshade, if that jogs things up a bit for ya.. Theres also a cool double page look at things that have been mistaken as UFO's o'er the years comets in the night sky, big bright headlights coming up the other side of a foggy road, things like that. And the images are brilliantly drawn- I loved the artwork in these book at the time.

    But hopefully,you will see that image thats engraved in the memory in some other book-
    I know what thats all about,with lots of images still in the head over the years,that getting these books brought back into modern view. I have a picture in my head from what I think is the "Stars and Planets" book in the series, with an Alien holding what was a sphere its hands. Said sphere is containing a galaxy within it. I found the Stars and Planets book on Amazon,and 'tis on the way. Hopefully, Ill see it in there.
    I clearly remember the summer of 1989 getting these books,and again, its amazing having them again! When the Stars and Planets book gets to my house,Ill let you know whats in it.

    The other book, "Space Travel" is there too, and Im getting that.
    Incidentally, just to confuse me further, the Space Travel and Stars and Planets books Im seeing online are under a "Young Scientist" set of books, which also I think contains the "Jets" book you mentioned earlier.
    It was harder to track these books down due to them getting re-jigged with the same content under different headings like that!

    As for the "Ghosts" book, I might get that, even though I didnt actually read that one back in the day- it wasnt in my library at the time!

    1. See, now that picture you're talking about with the car headlights - THAT sounds familiar. As in, the car's coming over a hill, sort of thing?

      The UFO book I'm after, I can picture the cover - a massive craft rising above some snow-covered trees whilst folk below look on. Thinking about it now, that's probably a reference to the Rendelsham Forest incident. I can also picture a double-spread page of people running in panic through the city streets, talking about the George Orwell broadcast of War of the Worlds.

      What a mineshaft, the human memory is!

  7. The UFO front cover has three classic flying saucers hovering above a city style skyline,with a couple of trees jutting up infront of the buildings.
    The "headlights" image- thats a small nicely drawn picture with text underneath telling you about how deceptive that is regarding being mistaken for UFO lights in the sky. There are 9-10 images like that 'cross the pages ranging from drawings of an enlarged moon, a beaming lighthouse at night,and red flares shot across the starlight. The book itself charters the possible UFO sightings over the years,and theres a double spread page you might remember: It has a drawing of these orange faced aliens living on a glacial, ice-cool planet, observing a triangle shaped craft taking off. The aliens have big bug eyes,and pointy ears.
    Actually mate, you will quite easily hunt the book down on amazon, thats how I got them. "Usbourne world of the unknown UFOs" I hope you get it.

    The other books I ordered arrived- Space Travel, and Undersea. I have an image in me head that I was hoping was in the Space Travel book, but it wasnt there! The one I got is more or less the same as I might have had back in the day, 'cept it has a newish cover,and is like a "remastered" version, if you will. Since it was republished in the early 90s, theres a couple of newish small articles in there. Not exactly the one I wanted, but for the most part, I think I did have this at some point.
    Theres one more book Im after and I think its the "Space Travel" one, that might have the image Im remembering. Cant seem to find it yet on the uk amazon, but heres hoping!

    1. Hmm, none of those images sound familiar - I'll still probably try and get it eventually, because they ARE nice books. How's the Undersea one? That one sounds tempting.

      The risk of getting a "remastered" version is slightly worrying, which is why I'd prefer to "ideally" find them in a second hand bookshop or something. The Monsters and Ghosts ones that I have are from the 1970s, and were on sale as my primary school library was having a clear-out, if I remember...

      Good luck in your continued quest for "the image"!

  8. The "Undersea" book is good- stuffed with cool information,and imagery- and regarding that, I was trying to remember some of the pictures from yesteryear upon looking through it,but although I do remember that the book was in the library, I cannot recall much about this today, unlike the "Prehistoric Mammals" book I got. Every page in that one brought back so much to me,and along with the Monsters book, its the one I remember the most.

    The Undersea one I got meanwhile, is yet another "remaster" of the classic original. New cover- with the same old content inside, along with a couple of newish additions regarding more modern findings and things. I wouldnt be surprised if some of the layout of the book differs to the original too, but again, I actually dont remember that much if anything about it. I didnt realise that the older version was not the one I ordered,but its nice to have it anyhoo.

    As for that image Im still seeing in me mind, it might now be from the "Space Travel" book in the series, but that ones a bit harder to track down,and again, I wanna get the original at a good price,not a remaster.

    Id look out and capture the UFO book if I was you,mate. There might indeed be something in it that you might not be remembering and thinking about,and suddenly something might come back to you if you get it. That happened to me multiple times upon getting these books back!

    1. Ah, now a "Prehistoric Mammals" one, that one I MIGHT have had at some point.

      Does it feature a mammoth (or similar hairy beast) stuck in a tar pit, while a sabre-tooth tiger is also attacking it?

  9. Yes! That picture completely took me back upon seeing it. Its a great drawing of a large elephant- the Imperial Mammoth to be exact- in a sticky situation. He's ensnared in a tar pit, and there is indeed a sabre tooth cat slowly clawing into and up the Mammoth's back, the big Cat's mouth open for the kill. In the background , there are so called "dire wolves" and huge vultures circling just above,awaiting the remains of the kill. Those two pages are about something that went down in whats now in present day Los Angeles- at Rancho La Brea, where today, you can visit the tar pits in a park and see models of the mammals. If you happen upon the Prehistoric Mammals book on amazon, get it. I opened up a new treasure chest of memories with every page re-turned when it arrived a couple of weeks ago. I remember that book the most, having rented it a lot at the time.
    You might also remember it has pages about the first horses being the size of today's foxes, gigantic birds from South America, and colossal cousins of rhinoceros that were the tallest land mammal ever. The front cover meanwhile features a Woolly Mammoth in the Ice Age.

    Meanwhile, the Space Travel book I ordered might be here in a week or so. Ive no real memory about it, and got it on a whim,thinking it might have the image I remember from that time in in. Have a look around for the Prehistoric Mammals book, you definitely did have that at some point!

    1. Ah, now this IS a development! The giant birds... Is there a picture of one called a Diatrama, with a horse in its beak? If so, it's DEFINITELY one I'll be seeking out!

  10. Not exactly-- there is indeed a drawing of a Diatrama- which back in the day was 3m tall- but theres no horse in its beak.
    Theres a two page spread concerning Darwin's trip to South America in 1831, and the fossil skulls he found there. We see a drawing of Marcrauchenia- this camel sized thing with a small elephant-like trunk. Another feature I remembered instantly upon seeing it again,is the two page spread on the history of the Elephant- theres an image of what was a 5m Elephant with tusks attached to its chin- turning inward towards its chest.
    And another blast from the past was the Baluchitherium- 8m tall, 11m long- the largest land mammal ever. Classic illustration of him standing in the company of huge trees, with its head easily peaking over the treetops.

    That Tar Pit image you remembered- its gotta be the one in this book- I got my copy for 1 penny on amazon- coupla Euro post and packaging, but that was nothing! You will easily track it down,man!
    Im looking into getting another couple of books in these series- "Early Man" and "The First Civilisations". Im pretty sure that I didnt get to read them at the time,but they look good,and as well as being lost in nostalgia, the books are genuinely excellent reads!

    1. Bugger, looks like I'll have to carry on searching for whatever book had that diatrama in it then.

      The baluchitherium's a wonderful animal - there's a picture of it somewhere on this blog, when I posted scans of the first dinosaur book I ever had (a Ladybird one, no less!).

  11. Well, the Space Travel book arrived in the post today, but it doesnt feature the picture that I was looking for! I was convinced that, it might have been in the UFO book, or t least the Stars and Planets one- I dont remember this book being in circulation with me at the time,but I took a chance with it. And though what I was looking for is not in it, its a good aul' read all the same. Again, this one seems to be a "remastered" version, with newish writings in amongst the main bulk of illustrations and text that originally form the 70s.
    As for the image that Im remembering, Ive zero idea where its from now. I was certain that twas in one of these books in this series,but there was obviously something else out there like it that I cant remember.
    Still, Im best pleased with getting all the other books I remembered back, and it was a total blast seeing them again.
    Any luck with the Prehistoric Mammals book, yourself? Like I was saying to ya back there, Im sure thats the one you had before,and its definitely worth getting.

  12. I found the image I was thinking about,and looking for! I was snooping around with the other books in the series,and though I didnt remember the "Robots" one,I checked it out anyway,and found a site that quite superbly, scanned the whole book out-much like what you did here with the Monsters one. This time, the Robots book was part of a three part book amounting to one,called "Usborne book of the Future",which alongside the Robots one, included Star Travel, and Future Cities.
    Anyhoo, when scrolling down the page, there it was. It was engraved in the memory for years,and it was one of those annoying things,where I just couldnt picture where it came from. I might get the book now,along with some of the others that I never read, just to complete things.
    Stumbling along this page that time really opened up the vaults- never thought Id see and read these books again-- Thanks again!

    1. Ah, fantastic, you've found it! Glad to hear it - sorry for the late (-ish) reply, I've been in London for a week enjoying myself and all that.

      Which website had the Book of the Future one? I'd be interested in seeing the image you've been looking for for so long.

  13. Simply google Usborne book of the future, and the first two links in return, life.enhasa.org, and archive.org(pointless museum)= both have the book scanned and you can scroll thru the pages. Near the end of the "Robots" book (the first section of three), is a drawing of these two cockroach looking aliens, wearing what can only be described as green hospital scrubs holding spheres in their hands-and in said spheres are galaxies. I clearly remember reading hat page and looking at that image in the summer of '89 in the sitting room, as "Back to Life" by Soul to Soul was on the telly. Must have been Top of the Pops, or something. Anyhoo,for aaages I could not remember where I saw it before,and boom- there twas again.
    I just ordered "Early Man", another one of the Usborne history series- got it for a penny on amazon. Well, a couple of euro for Postage and Packaging,but Im looking forward to it. Didnt have this one before,but again, it looks good! As I said to ya,its been fantastic getting these books back,the memories re-launched back into view again has been brilliant.

    You should definitely get the Prehistoric Mammals book,mate. Its got to have been in your sights and company before, specially since you remember the "tar pit" image!

    1. Ha, just seen it - I can see why an image like that would stay with someone for so long! Just looked up the Usborne Book of the Future on Amazon... Available from £47!?!

      Took your advice though, and I've just ordered the Prehistoric Mammals one - you never know, I might have my "Diatrama image" mixed up in my head over the years. Looking forward to it anyway. The hardcover version was 39p cheaper than softcover, which is just great, as my "Ghosts" and "Monsters" books are both hardback too.

  14. Yeah, I ended up getting the softcover for some of the books- not by initial choice,but thats the only ones I could get for cheap- slightly different covers than originally remembered, but the inside content was the same.
    The main reason why I got the Stars and Planets ,and the Space Travel books were cos I thought thats where the image I was looking for might have been,but as I said to ya, twas in the Robots one all along. And funny enough, I have zero memory of anything else in the Robots book- thats why I never thought about checking out that one in the first place! Again, the memory of little things like that understandably get scrambled o'er the course of time.

    I was able to order all the books I got for around a penny each-with justa coupla extra euro for the postage on each. The "Future" book for 47 squid?! I seen a few of those books reach those heights too.

    My favourite outta the whole bunch are the Monsters, The Age of Revolutions,and the Prehistoric Mammals book. Delighted to hear you got it too! Ive a good feeling that, upon browsing thru it again, theres gonna be lots of pictures and captions recapturing the mind again,as things come back to you- almost every single page of that book brought it all back home to me. Lettuce know about it,when it arrives to ya!
    On a different note,the baluchitherium thats in the Prehistoric Mammals book- he went under a couple of alias's ,and theres a class episode of BBC's "Walking with Beasts" series all about that big fella on youtube to see. Its called Land of Giants. I saw it a few years ago,and watched it again,after seeing it in the book! Theres also a killer episode on the Sabre tooth Cat ripping up the plains of South America aswell.

  15. Hey stumbled onto this blog. I have been obsessed with finding a book like this one for years. I cant remember its name or anything about it other then the story in it. It had a story about frog people who capture native American's and keep them as slaves and ride on there backs like a horse. Would anyone remember where this came from? Any help would be appreciated. my email is bamphaknee@hotmail.com

    1. Hello, Banpkaknee :)
      I've no idea which book you're looking for either but I'm definitely intrigued, that sounds fairly horrific! I'll keep an eye out on your behalf, and let you know if I find it (or probably just scan and post it here...)

  16. It is so random that all of you have been drawn to these books in the same way I have. We had the "world of science and mysteries: Monster" in my elementary school library. I can't find it online to purchase though! Where can I find it?

    1. Just looked on eBay and Amazon, and nothing! Best just keep a saved search for "Children's Britannica Monsters" and hope for the best... Least you've got the whole thing scanned here for the world to see, yes?

    2. I actually figured it out! All you have to do is search Google or Amazon for "The World of the Unknown: Monsters" by Carey Miller. The cover looks corny but the inside pages are identical to the ones above. Hope this helps someone else who wants their own copy of the book

    3. Fantastic stuff, glad you managed to find it :)

  17. DAMN nostalgia all over again. Absolutely loved this book as a child. NESSIE!

  18. Omg! I’ve been trying to find this book for years... I’m speechless. The book I remember was called Mysteries of the Unknown- Monsters Ghosts and ufos. It’s been over 30 years and it’s like I read it yesterday seeing these scans. Thank you!!!!!

  19. Usborne's "The World of the Unknown" book series (1977) was an incredible series of books which left an indelible impression on me - I have never forgotten them.

    The same can be said for the 'sequel' pocket book: "Usborne Guide to the Supernatural World: Vampires, Ghosts & Mysterious Powers" (1979). A very worthy follow-up and companion piece (also available as three volumes or omnibus edition) to the 1977 series.

    Having recently rediscovered these wonderful books, (what a joyously, nostalgic trip down memory lane to see them again) I will always treasure them.

  20. I owned this (or the Norwegian translated version) when I was a kid. The werewolf on page 31 I found so scary that I covered the image of it in black paint.

    1. Brilliant!

      Oddly enough, it was the friendly-looking face of the yeti that scared me as a kid - his face was just THAT too close to the page for comfort.

  21. https://www.change.org/Supernatural_World