From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7?A well-written introductory essay is followed by six geographically divided sections. More than half of the volume focuses on the familiar mythology of the Northern and Mediterranean lands. Each part opens with an overview of the region's culture and the themes of its myths, a map, and a timeline. The entries do not contain the stories themselves, although some are briefly described, but instead present limited biographical sketches of the characters. Much of the information is hard to locate in any one source, but the book's shortcomings may still outweigh its benefits. No pronunciation guide is included; the index is incomplete, and it does not contain cross-references to alternative spellings of names, even when the alternates are mentioned in the text. The book has an effective design and layout, but the full-color illustrations are only occasionally informative. The Facts on File Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend (1988) has more entries as well as better cross-referencing in the index.?Cheri Estes, Dorchester Road Regional Library, Charleston, SC
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This attractively illustrated encyclopedia is intended for children in the upper-elementary grades. Its short entries on more than 500 mythical characters, heroes, and shamans were written by qualified contributors who lecture at universities on the topic of mythology. The work begins with an overview essay about the development and origin of myths. The body of the work is divided by geographic regions: "Northern Lands," "Africa," "Mediterranean," "Eastern Asia," "Central and South America," and "South Pacific Lands." Each of these regional chapters begins with a short essay introducing the different peoples and their mythologies, a map, and a time line. The six geographic chapters are further subdivided into subsections such as North America or Greece. These subsections contain A
entries for the mythical characters. Colorful drawings often highlight key deities or heroes. Names in small-capital letters indicate that there is another entry for that character in the encyclopedia; however, no page numbers are given for these see also
entries. The reader must turn to the index in order to find the additional entry.
The entries, which vary in length from about 25 to 75 words, contain adequate information for the curious young reader, but the arrangement of the information will make it difficult for anyone doing research. Since it is not in a single alphabetical arrangement, the reader must use the index.
The one-page glossary contains useful information about such terms as shaman, but it does not have a pronunciation guide, nor is there one in the body of the work. There also seems to be a real bias toward Greek mythology--a full 17 pages are devoted to this system, whereas only three pages are devoted to Roman mythology. The information on Native American mythology is not detailed enough for the North American market.
In school and public libraries that need additional information on mythology, this volume will supplement other titles, such as Greek and Roman Mythology A to Z: A Young Reader's Companion (Facts On File, 1992) and Norse Mythology A to Z (Facts On File, 1991).