- Series: Reference, Children's Dictionary Series
- Library Binding: 128 pages
- Publisher: Franklin Watts (September 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780531117088
- ISBN-13: 978-0531117088
- ASIN: 0531117081
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.5 x 10.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,198,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Children's Dictionary of Mythology (Reference, Children's Dictionary Series) Library Binding – September 1, 1999
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From Library Journal
Grade 4-7-A basic introduction to world mythology through characters, stories, and motifs from many cultures. Though Greek, Roman, and Norse myths appear throughout, Leeming has made a definite effort to cover lesser-known tales, such as those from various Native American tribes, Asia, India, Ireland, Wales, and Australia. Entries are arranged alphabetically, usually consisting of no more than several paragraphs, although some stories receive longer sidebars. The author defines his subject broadly ("A mythology reflects a given society's view of itself"), which may explain why many items that are not traditionally considered mythology have been incorporated. For example, the legend of King Arthur is given its own sidebar, and many folktales are also considered. The author even makes an attempt to include Judeo-Christian myths, but is far from consistent in doing so (the story of Adam and Eve appears several times, yet no mention of Christianity is made in the entry of "Rebirth and Resurrection"). A solid index, a pronunciation guide, and a bibliography arranged by culture will help readers considerably. Full-color and black-and-white reproductions and photographs of paintings, sculptures, and artifacts illustrate the dictionary. One problem with this book is in the title: the writing may be too sophisticated for some elementary students, but older readers will certainly shy away when they see the word "Children's." This is a shame, as the scope of this eye-catching volume makes it a sure asset for those ever-present reports on this topic.
Kathleen M. Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, Eldersburg, MD
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Each entry is a short, informative essay. Some entries, like "African Mythology" or "Animism," are general in nature, while others focus on specific deities, heroes or relevant cultural phenomena. Some sample entry topics are "Book of the Dead," "Coyote," "Dikithi" (a Bantu trickster), "Kali," "Lilith," "Quetzalcoatl," etc.
One of the book's strongest aspects is its rich assortment of full-color illustrations. There are many photographs of artwork of all types: a Hopi cloth, a sculpture of the serpent-headed Medusa, a stained-glass window depicting Sir Galahad, a knife handle carved to represent the trickster Raven, a wooden statue of the Chinese goddess Kuan Yin, Egyptian paintings, and much more.
A note to the reader declares, "Myths are sacred tales about gods, goddesses, heroes, and heroines." Thus I was puzzled by the book's failure to include many important figures from Jewish, Christian, and Islamic sacred narrative. Yes, "Adam" and "Eve" are included, but there are no articles on "Abraham," "Moses," "Jesus," "Mary," and others. Yet the editors include figures from other living religions, like Hinduism. Certainly, by the book's own definition of myth, the excluded figures merit entries. This selective process of inclusion and exclusion left me somewhat dissatisfied with the book. Despite its flaws, however, this book is an admirable reference work for young readers.