A collection of 24 myths and folk tales from a wide variety of traditions, plus one original story incorporating folk beliefs. A succession of magic creatures--some as familiar as Baba Yaga or the Golem, some as seldom-met in children's books as the Flying Dutchman or Fenris--rise from the dark place "between thought and unthinking" to change, menace, trick, or be tricked. Hamilton sometimes combines incidents from different versions; her clear, easy prose gives the whole collection a unity of voice, only occasionally broken by touches of dialect, but, unfortunately, the didacticism here is obtrusive: names are split for ease of pronunciation ("Me-du-sa"), while appended notes provide unsystematic snippets of background and pointless recaps of plot or theme ("This legend. . .has a double transformation motif within the beauty-and-the-beast theme. The prince becomes a boar, and the princess becomes a frog"). Though the bibliography is large, most of its entries are uncommon in children's collections. Advise pleasure-readers to skip the notes, and researchers to consult better-documented material.