There is so much information in DK’s Children’s Book of Mythical Beasts & Magical Monsters ($21.99).
I would have said I am pretty well read when it comes to myths, legends and folklore until I read this book, which not only includes creatures and stories of things we would be familiar with in Canada (werewolves, Greek gods), but also stories from places and cultures all over the world, including ancient China, India, Scandinavia and more.
The beginning of the book teaches children about myths and how earlier civilizations would have created these stories to explain the world around them. The book then offers various culture’s creation stories including the Benu bird of Ancient Egypt, “which flew across the waters of non-being at the first dawn. Landing on a rocky pyramid, poking from the water, it let out a harsh cry, shattering the eternal silence and waking up the world.”
The book offers several sections including Around the World; Who’s Who (the relationship between gods of different cultures and the characters featured in famous legends); Telling the Tale; and Character Up Close.
Each page has an amazing amount of information on whichever creature is featured.
There are illustrations and artifacts, which provide a great visual illustration. In Characters of Up Close, Mama Quilla, goddess of the moon, was the third most powerful god of the Incas.
According to the book, which included a picture of a lunar eclipse (and information about what it is) and artifacts showing what the goddess looked like, Incas were afraid of Lunar eclipses because they believed a creature was attacking Mama Quilla. If the creatures were successful, the Incas believed they would be left in darkness. They also believe the silver they found was tears from the goddess, which fell to the Earth, while gold was the sweat of the Sun, Inti, the sun (and Mama Quilla’s husband and brother). On the side of the page is more information about Mama Quilla including her various titles, family connections and more children.
We learn about Maui, made famous by Disney’s Moana, various explanations about the underworld, shapeshifters and flood stories, with an interesting note about the story of Noah and the Great Flood, which occurs in Jewish, Islamic and Christian scriptures. Interesting.
A copy of this book was provided by DK for an honest review. The opinions are my own.