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Jenny Higgins (CA)

Devil Fish

Devil Fish

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The world did not truly believe in giant squid until the 1870s, when record numbers of the mysterious creatures appeared in the waters and beaches around the island of Newfoundland. Photographs that appeared in international newspapers and physical specimens sent to ivy league laboratories accomplished what eye-witness accounts had been attempting for centuries: to prove beyond doubt that giant squid are real. 

Thrilling tales and images of “devilfish” spread around the globe and shaped the animal’s public image as a delightfully terrifying enigma suspended at the boundary of fable and fact. As a newly acknowledged member of the animal kingdom, the giant squid was an object for scientific study. At the same time, though, the public imagination playfully cloaked the mollusc in mystery; a real-life sea monster who had acquired many of the attributes of the Kraken and sea serpent. 

Devilfish contains more than 130 images and 10 pull-out facsimile documents. They are meant in equal parts to inform and delight—to explain the remarkable history of the giant squid while building a sense of wonderment and fun. Also include are dozens of bite-sized sidebars. Consider this a pop-up book for adults, grounded in research and reaching for the wondrous.

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Boulder Books


Jenny Higgins is a writer and researcher living in Flatrock, Newfoundland. Her work has been published in newspapers and magazine and on Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Heritage Website; it has also been broadcast on CBC Radio. She has also written extensively for the Maritime History Archive and the provincial Department of Education. Her previous books include Perished: the 1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster (winner of Perished: The 1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster won the Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing); Newfoundland in the First World War (Nominated for the 2018 Historic Sites Association, Heritage and History Award; winner of the 2017 Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award, non-fiction); and Agnes Ayre’s ABCs of Amazing Women.

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