Perhaps this book could be classified as 'faction' a hybrid book where fiction is presented as fact, in this case a biography and a scientific journal.
Part 1 of the book is the biography of Dr. Spencer Black. The doctor, the son of a grave robber, studied at the Academy of Medicine in Philadelphia during the 1870's. He was a controversial figure - some people saw him as a genius, but most saw him as a mad man.
Part 2 of the book is Black's opus, his lifetime's work; 'The Codex Extinct Animalia.' A collection of anatomical drawings illustrating the anatomy of mythical creatures from throughout history. Black developed a strange and morbid curiosity of these creatures believing that they were the 'anatomical ancestors of humankind.' A truly exciting and interesting read followed by a collection of mind-blowing art work.
I would possibly use this book to inspire some fictional biographies, Dr. Frankenstein for example. I would love to know how you might use it in the classroom.