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Are you a fan of Mysteries and Mythology? Check out all our Mysteries / Mythology book selections, read reviews, download extracts and you can order the book too!
Sisters Imogen and Isabel Greenberg make brilliant use of the comic book/graphic novel format to tell stories of Athena, probably the most appealing of all the Greek goddesses, weaving different myths into one coherent adventure. It starts as Athena springs from Zeus's head fully armed and 'ready to do battle in the world'; next is the story of her relationship with Athens and, more crucially, rivalry with Poseidon, then interventions in human lives with Perseus and Arachne (the latter a good learning experience for the goddess), before the lead up to the Trojan war and finally the wanderings of Odysseus. The stories are unbeatable and text and illustrations do them full justice. A terrific introduction to the world of Greek mythology and a great bit of storytelling.
Stylish and artfully designed, this book is jam-packed with enough information on the Greek gods and heroes to satisfy even the most inquisitive reader. Forty different characters, from Gaia, Cronus and Zeus to Electra, Achilles and Odysseus, are featured on double page spreads; boxes of text tell their stories with impressive brevity, while extra gobbets of information are conveyed via shorter text boxes or in captions that accompany the stylised, colour illustrations. It’s a book that encourages browsing, while simultaneously making clear the timeline and interconnectedness of the various gods and heroes. This is the latest in an eye-catching and effect series.
This lovely picture book tells a folktale from China and captures too the pleasures of a family gathering, and the importance of spending time together. Its little girl narrator is excited – it’s the night of the mid-Autumn Festival feast and her grandparents are coming round to celebrate. Her favourite part of the meal are the special mooncakes, ‘as small as my hand and as round as the moon’. They are decorated with the image of a beautiful lady and her grandmother tells them the story of Chang’e, the Lady in the Moon. It is a tale of courage, love and self-sacrifice, one to light up an autumn evening. As the book concludes, the little girl knows exactly what wish she will make for the coming year: like the lady in the moon, she wishes to be kind of heart and wise of mind. The story will be new to most readers in this country and, with a message of thanksgiving and unity and its insight into another culture, is a great one to share as we enjoy the autumn. There’s even a recipe for the delicious sounding mooncakes too.
March 2018 Book of the Month | Myth Match is more than a wonderful guide to mythical creatures, because there are different ways to read this handsomely illustrated book. You can carefully flip up the divided pages to study the array of fantastic beasts presented: a dragon, the aboriginal Goorialla, the Manx Arkan Sonney, all are depicted in fascinating full-colour detail and in close-up. But flip the pages again – left hand and right hand sides – to create your own army of extraordinary creatures: the half page format allows you to mix the creatures together, e.g. giving heads that breathe fire chicken’s feet and the tail of a squirrel. The mind-boggling permutations are almost endless. Each new creation is guaranteed to look strange but beautiful thanks to the gorgeous artwork. A great way to learn about mythical creatures, from all cultures, and fun too.
Following up the excellent A Year Full of Stories, Angela McAllister has travelled the world again to collect together wonderful folktales, this time with an animal theme. There are tales of tigers, pandas and jackals, of buffalos, bears and coyotes, as well as cheetahs, warthogs and ostriches, all of them told in the direct, robust prose of the best storytellers. Great for reading on your own and just the right length for bedtime, each story will capture the reader’s or listener’s imagination, and quite often leave them with something to think about too. Aitch’s watercolour illustrations highlight the stories’ individuality, but give them a universal feel too and it’s as lovely to look at as it is to read.
In a Nutshell: Spine-tinglingly timeless fairy tale A deliciously dark tale of soul eating sisters, and a girl who dares venture into the eerie unknown. Best devoured by the light of the moon (if you dare…) In the beginning, there were two sisters, born minutes apart. Two more female mouths to feed in hard times, when it might have been better to have the strong hands of sons. But not only that; different from others their age, the sisters were abandoned by their parents, and turned out to be soul eaters… Alys was only a child when the soul eaters came to her village and claimed all the adults. In their new home, the surviving children are ruled by a superstitious fear of the soul eaters, and they adhere to the counsel of their creepy nursery rhymes. But Alys is preoccupied by something more. She senses that she’s not like the other survivors, and wonders why she feels connected to the creatures that killed their parents, and to The Beast. As in all the best fairy tales, a creeping sense of fear and curiosity is evoked as Alys is drawn into the fforest to discover the truth for herself, where she wrestles the very concepts of good and evil. From the atmospheric opening, to Alys’s ordeals in the depths of the fforest as she journeys from childhood to womanhood, this is an exquisitely eerie reading experience. If you enjoyed the timeless tale-ness of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, or The Sleeper and the Spindle, or the otherworldly edge of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, this is well worth venturing into. ~ Joanne Owen
Winner of the 2018 Blue Peter Awards - Best Book with Facts Have you ever wondered what exactly does go bump in the night? From mysteries like Shackleton's ghostly companion to the Loch Ness Monster and friends, read the amazing evidence about these mysterious cases and make up your own mind. Things are not always what they seem - until they are, then you might wish you had never asked!
December 2016 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: beasts, magical beasts, in words and pictures | This very handsome book, wonderfully illustrated by some of the top artists of today, is a must-have for anyone fascinated by the magical creatures that appear in so many favourite children’s stories. It features a host of exotic beasts, from giants and centaurs to harpies, werewolves and the basilisk, each one gloriously illustrated in full colour over double pages. Award-winners Helen Ward and Gary Blythe make merpeople and unicorns truly magical, while David Wyatt’s dragon – in a stunning gatefold – is a masterpiece of fiery menace. The text that accompanies each image tells legends and stories about the creatures, and includes quotes from authors such as Dante and Homer. Part information-book, part story collection, it’s a book to treasure. ~ Andrea Reece
With superhero films filling the cinema there has never been more interest in mythology and the Norse gods are certainly stranger than most. But although this comic style retelling looks like pure Marvel and DC and the exciting illustrations are indeed from the pen of a renowned comic artist, this is actually a very true representation of the mythology. The story of Baldur is enormously significant since his death marks the first event of Ragnarök and the beginning of the end for the gods. We learn that this has been prophesised and of the lengths that Odin and Frigg go in order to prevent his death and how Loki outwits them at every turn, but in the end his punishment is so severe the world shakes with his pain. With glossary, character profiles, writing prompts and discussion questions this is a useful classroom resource for any study of Norse Mythology. Highly attractive and engaging, it will also appeal to comic fans and reluctant readers.
The world we live in is truly amazing, and across its continents, oceans and skies are all kinds of fabulous places and astounding sights. Almost 100 of them are described in the bright, information-filled pages of this book. Natural wonders featured include the Namib Desert, Mount Thor and the Sundarbans mangrove forest as well as Black Holes, ball lightening and hurricanes. They’re all brought to life through photographs, key facts and figures, attractively presented, and all graded for awesomeness. So too are the human creations listed, which include the Colosseum, the Millau Viaduct and Voyager 1. Perfect for dipping into and full of information they’ll rush to share, this will fascinate kids, and should inspire them too. ~ Andrea Reece
A stunningly illustrated edition of Homer’s classic adventure story which has been vibrantly retold by the late Rosemary Sutcliff who adds her own story-telling magic to Homer’s original. The stories which led to the Greek’s siege of Troy, which include The Golden Apple, The Death of Achilles, The Wooden Horse and The Fall of Troy among many others, seamlessly weave the worlds of gods and men into one strand. Alan Lee’s illustrations evoke the heroism of the human Greek warriors – and their cruelty – while also bringing the shadowy gods convincingly to life.
The Odyssey, Homer’s second epic adventure, tells the story of Odysseus as he travels home from the war in Troy. His adventures on his travels include his meetings with the Cyclops and with the dangerous sirens who lure boats onto the rocks among many others before his finally reaches home bringing peace to all. Odysseus’s wanderings and the many dangers he faces are beautifully captured in Alan Lee’s atmospheric illustrations.