McDermott's latest venture in world mythology employs the Egyptian story of how Osiris the Pharaoh became Osiris god of the underworld--after his envious brother Set ("the animal headed one") traps him in a coffin-like chest and later chops him to bits. Osiris' devoted wife-and-sister Isis gathers the pieces, and the Sun-God Ra, pitying Isis, raises him up to reign in his new incarnation. Solemn and remote, it's not a story for the picture book age, and McDermott's dazzling designs in cutout shapes and luscious colors are not picture book illustrations. As usual there is more of McDermott here than of the featured culture--though the Egyptian references are evident in the style and motifs. Eye-catching to be sure, the pictures are least effective--even ludicrous--when they come closest to depicting narrative action (see the queen of Byblos rushing into a chamber as her baby cries, Osiris' eye peeks foolishly from a column, and Isis, in a blue, snakelike swish, changes from woman to bird)--and totally unresponsive to any changes in mood.