From School Library Journal
Grade 3–8—This handsome volume introduces beings powerful enough to "push the seasons forward, forge mighty civilizations, and shape the very earth." Six gloriously illustrated spreads, each graced by a dramatic paper-sculpture centerpiece and additional fold-out booklets, provide a glimpse at gods and heroes from around the world along with appetite-whetting tidbits of myths and legends. Represented are the deities of ancient Egypt, the Greek pantheon, mortal champions of the classical world, Norse gods and goddesses, Asian and Polynesian divinities, and the "Great Spirits of the New World." The artwork, set against pastel backdrops, combines traditional images with modern sensibilities to stunning effect. An airy pop-up of Olympus includes all 12 primary gods; a pull-tab flips miniature pages to reveal Herakles's 12 labors; a 3-D Thor swings his famed hammer down with a powerful thrust; hot-headed Pele emerges from a volcano base; Spider Woman weaves a celestial web out of silver cord; and more. The text covers a lot of ground but is well written and works hand-in-hand with the striking, innovative illustrations to encourage further exploration. Use this attention-grabbing overview to brew up reader interest and launch studies of ancient cultures and mythology.—Joy Fleishhacker
, School Library Journal
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The creators behind the popular Encyclopedia Prehistorica series of pop-up books offer this second volume in the Encyclopedia Mythologica (following Fairies and Magical Creatures, 2008). Ranging beyond the better-known canon of classical mythology, the book is evenly weighted to include Egyptian, Norse, Eastern, and New World legends. Each of the six main spreads is dominated by a large centerpiece, which is surrounded by three or four flaps that open to reveal smaller but often no-less-impressive pop-ups that dive into substrata of the spread’s main theme. Some of these pop-ups reveal even smaller flaps in a kind of nested-doll-like series of diminishing size. The page constructions are what you'd expect from the duo, which is to say intricately detailed and exquisitely designed but also sturdier than they look, though certainly prone to mangling when overhandled. The information, though well conveyed, is both necessarily truncated by the nature of the format and demanding of a higher reading level than most pop-up books. Still, definitely neat. Grades 2-5. --Ian Chipman