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Giants, Monsters, and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth Paperback – November 17, 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

There are three criteria for inclusion in this near-comprehensive reference work on a relatively narrow aspect of folklore: the creature cannot be divine, it must be a supernatural being from mythology, legend, folklore, or classic literature, and it may be a cryptozoological or symbolic being, such as a heraldic beast. Although various other sources treat giants, monsters, and mystery animals, none seems to cover them all at once, and this work's inclusion of the symbolic element appears to be unique. Entries give basic descriptions of each creature as well as its activities, region, culture, and historical period, and each entry is both cross-referenced and referenced to a selected bibliography. Appendixes categorize beings under country or region as well as such headings as "Beings Associated with Catastrophe." While works as modern as J.R.R. Tolkien's are cited, the Harry Potter series is not, though several monsters described here are present in J.K. Rowling's books. Perhaps Rose (Spirits, Fairies, Gnomes, and Goblins) does not consider Potter classic literature, but for a current reference work, this may soon prove a serious oversight. Recommended for public and school libraries where similar references are used.DKatherine K. Kaigler-Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh, PA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! have nothing on Rose, at home in a thicket of menacing creatures. -- Choice
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (November 17, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393322114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393322118
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 0.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Books of this type are nothing new. There are probably dozens of encyclopedia-style texts out there dealing with magical creatures and mythical beings, but this one is easily one of the more enjoyable volumes I've had the pleasure of reading. As has been pointed out in another review, this is not a book for those who are longing for visuals over text. This is not one of Froud's Fairy books or one of the Gnome texts. As fun as those books are, there is a heavy if not predominate focus on their original illustrations. Carol Rose's book is focused instead on textual descriptions and summaries. There are plenty of great illustrations in the book, mostly woodcuts from Rose's own private collection, but these are not the key focus of the book. But I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a good, searchable reference guide to creatures of myth and magic.
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Format: Paperback
Carol Rose has done it again! The companion to her much-acclaimed Spirits, Faeries, Gnomes, and Goblins: an Encyclopedia of the Little People, Giants, Monsters, and Dragons provides the same thorough lexicon of the fantastic. More of less everything her previous book left out (ie. the large mythical creatures) that I complained about in my review of the said book, this book covers. Got a question on Qanekelak? Wondering about Wendigo? Tired of asking about Asipatra? Just plain curious about the Cockatrice? Well this well-documented book provides all the answers to the questions you might ask (and even answers to wuestions you might NOT have asked).
Not only does it include the traditional monsters, Griffins, Dragons, Ettins, etc. but it also includes folklore monsters from the American Old West (Fearsome Critters). Also, some of the more popularized monsters like Werewolves and vampires are carefully restrained within the pages of this book.
Anyone who's had bad experiences with so-called encyclopedias of beasts-that-aren't, need not fear this book. It is not, repeat, NOT a re-telling of old folktales. This book states the physical description of each creature, in a clear, concise manner, and goes about with helpful information about it. If your trying to find their countries of origin, simply turn to the back for a thorogh cross-index of all the creatures.
So why does it recieve four-stars from me? The artwork is sub-par. Rather than original pictures, which, I admit, can rapidly become tacky, she has chosen to reprint old drawings and wood-prints from ancient texts and her private collection. Not that I'm against old-school pictures, but I prefer a more modern-touch. Maybe I'm just being picky.
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By A Customer on October 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a well written book, which focuses on just about every monster from ancient history to modern times - and from just about every culture from the Far East to the Americas. On a few of the more odd or unusual entries there is a short synopsis of the specific legend associated with it, or an explanation of the creature's probable origins - for instance, St. Christopher, who is sometimes depicted as a giant with a dog's head got that way because of a spelling error in the early church - he was designated as a "Canine" rather than a "Canaanite". These and other facts are sure to entertain and delight anyone looking into monsters and the like.
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Format: Hardcover
This book will not entertain; instead, it is like manna from heaven for anyone taking their research into the mythical beasts seriously.
A GIANT of a volume, this encyclopedia offers exactly what the title suggests - a refreshing change from some other books claiming to offer reference material.
All the monsters are listed alphabetically. Furthermore, everything is cross-referenced several times over. Want to find mythological beasts on regional basis? Or based on the type of monster? This is your book. One of the best parts is the bibliography section, should you wish to follow in the footsteps of the author and expand your reserach.
Hats off to the exhaustive research, but thumbs down for lack of elaboration in some instances. Most of the information acts merely as a pointer to the right direction, the extracts of folklore, legend and myth are very lean indeed. This is understandable for an encyclopedia - the book could have spanned several volumes if the author had decided to include more material.
I would strongly recommend this title as the best reference guide of it's kind.
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Format: Paperback
This is one for both the scholar who needs a quick reference and the casual enthusiast looking to impress friends with mythical trivia (not that many people have friends who are so easily impressed).

If you have any interest, academic or casual, in the mythical beasts of yore, I highly recommend Rose's encyclopedias (this, and the "sequel," which contains more benign beings). It's fascinating to see icons from ancient Mesopotamian myth, Japanese legend, Native American religion and contemporary American folklore all on the same page.

In addition to thorough explanations of the origins and significance of each beastie, Rose goes one step further by explaining parallels to other cultural icons, common heritages and even manifestations in modern popular culture (for instance, there are numerous entries about creatures from J.R.R. Tolkien's world, which, while not strictly mythical themselves, do draw their inspiration from real-world mythology).

There are a number of similar cyclopedic works available, but this one differs from the masses in that it is both thoroughly academic (unlike many of the recent pop-culture anthologies), -and- thoroughly enjoyable. Highly recommended.
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