Cover image for Myths and legends.
Myths and legends.
Publication Information:
New York Macmillan Library Reference USA, [2000]

Physical Description:
xii, 436 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm.
An alphabetical collection of articles describing gods, goddesses, monsters, heroes, tall tales, supernatural beings, and legendary people and places from ancient times to the twentieth century.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GR74 .M97 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Presents articles describing fascinating stories, myths and legends indigenous to each culture. The text features articles describing Aphrodite, Athena, Zeus, King Arthur, Thor, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Anubis, the Monkey King, Paul Bunyan and Robin Hood.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

These volumes belong to Macmillan Profiles, a series of reference works designed to complement middle-and high-school curricula. Each volume focuses on one broad subject area and presents alphabetically arranged entries that provide basic background information on topics and themes identified by secondary teachers and librarians. The first volume, Scientists and Inventors [RBB Ap 1 99], appeared in 1998; most subsequent volumes have been biographical, covering such groups as business leaders and kings and queens. All of the volumes follow the same format. Articles average three or four pages and are accompanied by numerous black-and-white photographs. Time lines, definitions of key vocabulary words, brief quotes, and informational sidebars appear in outer margins. Extensive bibliographies of level-appropriate resources list books, articles, and Web sites. Each volume also features a glossary and an index. Monuments and Historic Places of America is a strong addition to the series. Accessible articles provide factual information about each locale and explain its symbolic importance. More than 90 sites--battlefields, forts, factories, homes, churches, and more--have been chosen as symbols of historic periods or events ranging from the Mesozoic era (Dinosaur Ridge) through the end of the twentieth century. Entries consider sites related to specific events, such as the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, as well as representative sites, such as the Belle of Louisville steamboat or the Pony Express Stables in St. Joseph, Missouri. Geographic features (The Bering Land Bridge, Cumberland Gap) are listed along with national memorials (Washington Monument, USS Arizona Memorial). Well-documented landmarks (Camp David, Little Rock Central High School) have been included alongside sites that are more difficult for students to research, such as the Iolani Palace in Honolulu and the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay. Sidebar material is pertinent and informative. Time lines are current to the year 2000 (the Massachusetts Historical Association plans to open an exhibit at the Amoskeag Textile Mills later this year). Other site guides exist but generally have a different focus, limited to either specific types (Native American battle sites, for example) or specific purposes. This current volume is unique in that its coverage reflects standard social-studies research topics. Although a geographic index might have been helpful, overall this work is timely and well thought out and should be a welcome addition to any school or public library. Of equal interest is the volume Festivals and Holidays. Entries describe the history and significance of more than 100 rituals, feast days, festivals, and fairs. International in scope, articles cover both religious and national holidays and span ancient observances (Saturnalia) through contemporary celebrations (Great American Smoke-Out). Specific annual celebrations (Guy Fawkes Day, Tet) as well as types of celebrations (Homecoming, Quinceanera) are mentioned, as are those holidays that have controversial overtones (Columbus Day, Confederate Memorial Day). Traditional aspects are emphasized, but essays also recognize contemporary developments, such as First Amendment concerns related to the celebration of Christmas. Insightful sidebars include a number of recipes. Three helpful appendixes supplement the main text: a discussion of lunar and solar calendars, a day-by-day listing of national holidays around the world, and an inclusive list of religious holidays. It should be noted that approximately one-third of the articles in Festivals and Holidays have been drawn from several other publications, including Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara [RBB Je 1 & 15 98] and Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture [RBB Jl 96]. All extracted articles were rewritten for this volume, and 74 of the articles are entirely new. There may be less demand for the third selection, Myths and Legends. Although some of the more than 140 articles do address specific myths and legends, such as the Golden Fleece, most of the entry headings represent characters and creatures. These are drawn from the mythologies of numerous cultures, ranging from antiquity (Astarte) to more modern times (Paul Bunyan). Some articles focus on groups: Centaurs, Leprechauns, Mermaids. Some profile real-life heroes: Casey Jones and Davy Crockett, among others. More than 40 of the articles cover classical Greek and Roman mythology. The volume touches on themes that relate to several areas of study, but a number of recent publications cover similar territory, among them Cassell Dictionary of Classical Mythology [RBB My 1 99], European Myth and Legend [RBB Ja 1 & 15 98], and The Larousse Dictionary of World Folklore [RBB F 1 96]. From a curricular standpoint, there would seem to be more need for the first two titles reviewed here. Although the information they cover can be located in other sources, it is helpful to have the topics presented in a logical, interrelated format; and both are recommended for school and public libraries. The existence of numerous other general mythology guides compromises the need for Myths and Legends. Features that would enhance the volume's usefulness, such as appendixes that group the myths and legends by theme, type, geography, or culture, should be considered if there are future editions.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-This series entry contains informative, accurate, and detailed information on Greco-Roman myths, good material on many other European myths and American legends, and spotty coverage on the mythology of the rest of the world. Representation of some ethnic regions is perfunctory: one Inuit myth; no entries for Amaterasu, Izanagi, or Izanami (Japan); no Anansi, Orisha Nla, Obatala, or Olorun (Africa); no Kuan Yin (China) or Rama (India). Entries for "ghosts," "monsters," and "fairies," however, are each longer than the entry for King Arthur. There is no bowdlerizing, e.g., Aphrodite is born from the genitals of her castrated father. Greek and Roman names are cross-referenced. The black-and-white photographs, movie stills, and reproductions are well chosen but sparse. A reading list includes Web sites, and the index allows access by ethnic or national origin. The classical entries are much fuller than those in Mike Dixon-Kennedy's Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman Mythology (ABC-CLIO, 1998), but Philip Wilkinson's DK Illustrated Dictionary of Mythology (1998) is a more inviting and more comprehensive overview on the subject.-Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.