• Draws from a variety of cultures and sources: mythology, history, art, science, philosophy, and literature
• Includes fictional animals such as mermaids and unicorns, in addition to a vast range of real animals
• Each entry contains quotes from texts around the world
• Offers insight into the sometimes conflicting meanings of Western and Eastern symbolism
• Includes over 50 A–Z conversational entries
• Fully illustrated with a variety of images from medieval prints to editorial cartoons and advertisements
• Weaves together a cross-cultural tapestry encompassing mythology, history, art, science, philosophy, and literature while discussing the special significance of animals in human cultures
• Includes relevant quotes from worldwide texts preceding each entry
"Sax offers the rare reference volume, a bestiary entertaining enough for bedside reading . . . He impartially examines the real animal world and the fantastic fauna of myth and legend, mermaid and werewolf to unicorn . . ."
"The Mythical Zoo provides essential grounding for those interested in understanding the traditional as well as more modern or contemporary treatments of animals in art, literature, and popular culture. It is equally valuable for those concerned with gaining a better understanding to how attitudes toward animals are established and changed. As such, it will be an important tool for students and scholars in many fields as well as for storytellers, techers, and naturallists who use stories about animals to enrich their students' or audiences' appreciation."
H-Net Book Review
"Recommended for public and academic libraries."
Gale Reference Reviews
"[A] handy reference book that will be useful to just about anyone from storywriters to television producers, newspaper editors, or just plain interested readers. Anyone checking some background information or some last minute facts will find this book a must . . . The Mythical Zoo emphasizes depth over breadth in conveying ideas supporting the treatment of animals in myth, legend, and other aspects of human culture."
American Reference Books Annual
"This is another in a growing line of excellent reference volumes issued by ABC-CLIO in it continuing folklore and literature series . . . It is as much as home in a school library as in one's own personal collection."
Thought in the past to be divine, animals have played an active role in human culture since prehistoric times. Sometimes domesticated, never conquered, and serving as both prey and predator, animals are an integral part of the human experience. Even today, animals wield symbolic powers as varied as the cultures that embrace them.