When you first open An Illustrated Guide to Mythical Creatures, you are met with the image of a beastly creature’s head attached to five hooved legs staring back at you. If the title didn’t prepare you for what this book has to offer, this line printed just below the title surely will:
“A wondrous introduction to the varied life-forms of hearsay found in the myths, legends, and folklore of cultures around the world.”
Oh yes, this book is filled with wondrous images, from the fantastic to the grotesque, pulling from ancient mythology and lore spanning around the globe. With even my limited experience with Arthurian legends and Greek and Roman mythology, I found many familiar tales, and I was intrigued by so many of the other stories I was not already versed in. Divided into eight chapters describing similar types of creatures, including Chimera, Giants, Water Beasts, and Shape-Shifters among others, this guide provides unique computer-generated artistic images as well as a significant background on each category’s history in mythology or folklore, offering perhaps a different type of cultural history lesson than most children receive in school.
With some images that can be viewed as ghastly and menacing, An Illustrated Guide to Mythical Creatures is best in the hands of older children and adults with an interest in mythology, gaming, and the magical world of fantastic creatures. My own nine year old son has been fascinated by this slim, yet widely informative guide, and my husband, who may or may not have a slight adolescent history that included games such as Dungeons & Dragons, has taken his own turn skimming through the pages as well.
Dawn enjoys when books can offer some insight into the interests of her children (and husband, apparently). She writes about her own quest, often full of wondrous creatures as well, on her blog, my thoughts exactly.