Monday, September 26, 2011

Children's book of Mythical Beasts and Magical Monsters: a review

Dorling Kindersley, Inc. 2011. Children's Book of Mythical Beasts and Magical Monsters: An introduction to fascinating myths and legends from around the world. New York: DK.

Thanks to the prolific writer, Rick Riordan,  kids cannot get enough of mythical beasts and magical monsters.  DK's new book should give them all the background information they need to keep up with Rick Riordan or their favorite fantasy writers.

This book is much more than a mythology book, however.  It is divided into three loosely organized sections, Nature and Nation, Magic and Mayhem, and Quests and Battles.  Each section contains approximately fifteen to thirty different entries covering civilizations from across the globe and spanning all of recorded history.

Nature and Nation features creation and pourquoi stories,  Magic and Mayhem - tall tales, legends, legendary creatures and trickster tales. Quests and Battles is self-explanatory - dragons, Robin Hood, El Dorado, Durga, the Hindu warrior goddess and more.  There are four "types" of pages with the book, each type marked with a color-coded symbol,

  • Around the World: Wonder at the similarities and common elements in myths from around the world
  • Who's Who: Find out about the relationships between gods of certain cultures and characters that feature in famous legends
  • Telling the Tale: Discover the excitement and drama of myths that have been passed down from generation to generation.
  • Character Up Close: Take a close-up look at mythological characters, how they are depicted, their role and their adventures.
With a table of contents, usage guide, extensive index, glossary, and acknowledgments for the hundreds of illustrations from museums and libraries, this is more of a reference book than a browsing book, however, its appealing layout and busy pages will likely attract browsers as well.  The Children's Book of Mythical Beasts and Magical Monsters can easily serve as a starting point for school reports. A well-balanced and informative book.

This images of this cover found on the web are not entirely accurate.  The actual colors are much brighter and more garish than portrayed - jarring, to be sure, but most certainly eye-catching!  Kids will pick this one up.

Today's Nonfiction Monday is at True Tales & A Cherry on Top, the blog of writer Jeanne Walker Harvey, who has a new nonfiction book on shelves now:
 Please stop by.


  1. Loved all things myth when I was a kid and now love that so many kids love it now too. Makes for great conversations and book talks at the library. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. What could be more fun than mythical beasts and magical creatures? Thanks for a great review, and for participating in Nonfiction Monday.

  3. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll look to add it to the Doucette Library's collection.
    Apples with Many Seeds

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