MYTHS AND LEGENDS  by Sandra Lawrence


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
Email this review


A compact survey of world myths and legends.

Explaining that “myths are stories people used to tell to explain things they didn’t understand about their history, nature, or the world around them” and that “legends may once have been based on truth” but “have become fabulous fantasies,” Lawrence presents a smattering of notable characters and tales. The Greeks get a fair amount of attention, with the stories of Heracles, Theseus, Jason, and Pandora each afforded a double-page spread. As the book is quite small (5 ¾ inches high by 7 ½ inches across), that’s just a few sentences each. Other characters are grouped thematically (Robin Hood, Sun Wukong, Finn McCool, and Kintaro are “heroes”; Baba Yaga, Baron Samedi, Medusa, and Set are “the bad guys”). Although it’s clear Lawrence has worked not to limit herself to European mythology, her efforts at inclusivity are ham-handed at best. Next to a picture that looks suspiciously like Disney’s Pocahontas is a brief blurb on the generic “Native American spirit Sky Woman” (printed in black ink on dark-purple paper, so many readers may skip this anyway). Stories from extant cosmologies are presented alongside dead ones with no explanation, so readers who don’t know better may come away thinking Hinduism is as passé as the Norse pantheon, for instance. Equally troubling, stories and figures from the Abrahamic traditions are entirely absent, setting up a false opposition among belief systems.

Skip. (Nonfiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-944530-11-2
Page count: 72pp
Publisher: 360 Degrees
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2017


ChildrenME AND MY FAMILY TREE by Joan Sweeney
by Joan Sweeney
ChildrenBOO AT THE ZOO by Jeffrey Burton
by Jeffrey Burton


ChildrenTHE LONGEST DAY by Wendy Pfeffer
by Wendy Pfeffer
ChildrenIMAGINARY MENAGERIE by Julie Larios
by Julie Larios
ChildrenMONSTER MUSEUM by Marilyn Singer
by Marilyn Singer