From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6-The rough-hewn power of Norse mythology is vividly brought to life through Philip's retellings and Foa's darkly luminous illustrations. The 15 myths here, based upon the 13th-century Icelandic Prose Edda, will be familiar to readers of Norse mythology, and include "The Creation," "The Walls of Asgard," "Thor's Hammer," and "The Death of Balder." Philip's versions are straightforward in tone, yet retain an air of wonder. While they can be read as exciting adventures, they never lose the element of sacredness inherent in mythology. Contributing to this aura are Foa's dramatic illustrations. Created by applying thin layers of opaque oil paint to a white surface, the full-page paintings, at least one per tale, possess a primitive, almost surreal look. The artist's depictions of animals and humans are reminiscent of the work of Expressionists such as Marc Chagall and Georges Roualt. Her palette, filled with colors such as black, dark red, yellow ochre, and Chagall blue, looks as if she's borrowed it from Gothic stained-glass windows. Philip includes an afterword and a helpful "Who's Who" of the Norse gods and goddesses with some pronunciation guidance. With its dynamic illustrations and more descriptive text, Mary Pope Osborne's Favorite Norse Myths (Scholastic, 1996) may have wider appeal. But independent readers who find Philip's collection may leave it with a greater understanding of the culture that produced such amazing myths.Denise Anton Wright, Illinois State University, Normal
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A retelling of Norse mythology, from creation to Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods, including stories about Odin, Loki, Thor, and the giants of Jotunheim. Philip (Singing America, 1995, etc.) adds little that is new to the already considerable body of Norse myths available for young readers, but his competent retellings retain an elegant formality. A ``Who's Who'' puts the gods in their places, while the afterword contains interesting information about the Poetic and Prose Eddas, and about Christian influences and parallels. Foa's striking oil paintings have a look best described as somewhere between colored woodcuts and cave paintings; her unusual approach gives the book a quality of something ancient rediscovered, wholly appropriate to the subject. They make the book extraordinary. (further reading) (Folklore. 10+) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.