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A Bestiary

by Pauline Baynes & illustrated by Pauline Baynes

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-8028-5284-X
Publisher: Eerdmans

As untamed as the creatures she depicts, Baynes introduces more than two dozen animals real and fantastical—all drawn from medieval European sources—with often eyebrow-raising comments on their grosser habits, as well as the various medicines and aphrodisiacs that could, purportedly, be made from their parts. Some entries, such as the horse and the crocodile, are more likely to be observed in real life than the likes of satyrs, manticores or bonnacons, but none will be totally recognizable. That crocodile, for instance, not only sports red legs and a cow-like head in the finely detailed, manuscript-style portrait, but also produces dung that makes “old women and faded whores” appear beautiful. From the lion, whose cubs are supposedly born dead but licked to life by the male, to the phoenix, dubbed “the first example of resurrection, regeneration, and cloning,” this menagerie will provide a rousing, if somewhat more narrowly focused, alternative to Jonathan Hunt’s Bestiary (1998), as well as a springboard for young imaginations. (source list of manuscripts) (Folklore. 7-9)