November 12, 2008

Book review: The Mythic Bestiary: The Illustrated Guide to the World’s Fantastical Creatures (Tony Allan)

via Kyle and Todd Mayville

While on the surface this book may appear to be a Dungeons and Dragons fan’s dream, the reality of it is different.  It is instead a look at the various mythological creatures, many of which cut across cultures in various forms, and their purpose in stories and culture.  However, this book is far from a dry, boring, academic study of cross-cultural mythical creatures.  The descriptions are interesting to read and are accompanied by beautiful illustrations depicting the creature described.  There is also a list of resources at the end of the book for those interested in finding out more about the various legendary creatures presented.  The book is organized into three sections, depending on where the various creatures lived (earth, air, or water), and covers both East and West, ancient and modern (e.g., Bigfoot and the chupacabra), and offers commentary and comparison for those beings that cross cultural boundaries.

The only real issue I had with the book is that my son kept swiping it from me to read it himself, demonstrating that this book is perfect for nearly any age, be it a crusty old English teacher to a 14 year old boy fascinated with dragons and vampires: The mythic bestiary book was a fun book to read.  When I was watching a movie like, say for instance, Harry Potter, the three headed dog was in the first movie.  So what I did was look in the book and it told me all about it.  It has a sweet variety of sea monsters and things like vampires, werewolves etc…. I was able to get info on the mythical beast monsters of the world and got good info about them, so I liked the book, and I thought it was cool.

With the holiday season fast approaching, this is a book is the perfect gift for any occasion. Printed in Singapore, published by Duncan Baird Publishers, and distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Sterling Publishing.  Find The Mythic Bestiary at your local, independent bookstore. (Tell ’em you heard about it on Elephant Journal.com!)

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