Houghton Mifflin Trade and Reference Division

Detailed Search

Press Release

Fantasy Encyclopedia


About the Book

With lavish illustrations by some of the world's great fantasy illustrators, and comprehensive information on favorite characters in literature and film, Kingfisher's Fantasy Encyclopedia (October 2005, $24.95, ages 9+) is the companion no fantasy lover should be without. Want to brush up on the subject of nymphs before heading to the theater to see The Chronicles of Narnia? Turn to pages 32 and 33 of the Fantasy Encyclopedia for a thorough explanation of their ancient origins, powerful talents and wide-ranging varieties. A fan of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? Check out the section on amulets on pages 104 and 105 to decipher the dark and dangerous powers of the horcrux. Convinced you have an angry hobgoblin in your house playing tricks on you while you sleep? Consulting page 20 will put your mind at ease. A fun-filled, fascinating, easy-to-read reference for young and old, the Fantasy Encyclopedia covers the gamut — from griffins to goblins, dragons to Dracula, giants to genies — and every fantastical creature and element in between. Simply put: it's all in here.

In the foreword written for Fantasy Encyclopedia, Jonathan Stroud author of the New York Times best-seller The Bartimaeus Trilogy, invites readers to explore, learn, and even protect themselves if necessary! "Let this book be your guide — the key to their mysteries. Open it to any page, and you'll find something to enchant you. It describes the shadowy, slippery inhabitants of fantasy and suggests where you might find them; even better, it tells you the rules of engagement — silver bullets and all." Each section of the book is devoted to a different type of fantastical creature, from the well-known favorites — dwarves, unicorns and gremlins — to the more obscure (you may have never heard of one, but you do not want to run into a harpie! See page 75 to learn why). Not only do the chapters include detailed explanations of the creatures themselves, but also describes their bad habits, incredible powers, myths, fake sightings, "Achilles heals" and much more!

With contributions from some of the best-known illustrators in the fantasy genre — John Howe, Richard Hook, Patricia Ludlow, and Nicki Palin — the Fantasy Encyclopedia is the essential must-have for fans of both classic fantasy epics and new fantasy blockbusters. Fantasy film and book buffs will appreciate the list of popular movies and books that star the creatures featured in each chapter. Additionally, the book's comprehensive index, glossary, and unique listing of creatures, organized by area of the world, makes the Fantasy Encyclopedia a reference tool like no other. Coupled with over four hundred photographs and illustrations, the Fantasy Encyclopedia is a feast for the eyes, the mind — and the imagination!

About the Authors

Award–winning author Judy Allen was born at Old Sarum, near Stonehenge — a place of old magic — and has hunted the country for ancient ley lines and has sensed ghosts. She has written more than forty books for children. Her novel Awaiting Developments won the U.K. Whitbread's Children's Novel Award and the U.K. Friends of the Earth Award and was recommended for the U.S. Carnegie Medal.

Foreword writer Jonathan Stroud is the author of the New York Times best-seller The Bartimaeus Trilogy, which featuers daring adventures involving wizards, djinn, golems, and werewolves.

About the Illustrators

John Howe was born in Vancouver in 1957, grew up in British Columbia, and later studied at the Ecoles des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg. He is a world-renowned illustrator who is perhaps best known for his visualization of the worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien. His work has been featured in several Tolkien calendars and on posters commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit and the centenary of Tolkien's birth; he also re-illustrated the maps in The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion. Along with illustrator Alan Lee, his artwork became the foundation for the design of Peter Jackson's movie adaptation. Howe is also an expert in medieval armour and weaponry. He lives in Switzerland with his wife, who is also an illustrator, and son.

Richard Hook is an internationally acclaimed artist, renowned for his paintings depicting Native American culture. As well as illustrating many historical books for adults and children, he has illustrated a beautiful picture book called Where's the Dragon? Hook was born in 1938 and trained at Reigate College of Art. After national service in the British Army, he became the art editor of the much-praised British magazine Finding Out during the 1960s. He has worked as a freelance illustrator ever since. He lives in Sussex, England, with his wife and three children.

Patricia Ludlow has illustrated many children's books, including several on fairies and dragons. Her credits include In Search of Unicorns by Susannah York, Scary Fairies by Dugald Steer, Casting the Gods Adrift: A Tale of Ancient Egypt by Geraldine McCaughrean, and Meet the Monsters by Jane Yolen, which was praised by School Library Journal as a book that "no self-respecting child will be able to resist."

Nicki Palin is an accomplished illustrator whose work has been exhibited throughout the United Kingdom. Her many credits include Saint George and the Dragon by Geraldine McCaughrean, Owls and Pussycats: Nonsense Verse by Edward Lear and others, and Hidden Pictures, which she both wrote and illustrated. Her drawings have been called "gorgeous," "finely detailed," "beautiful," and "lavish." She also illustrated Kingfisher's critically acclaimed Mythology of the World. Palin's works have been shortlisted for the Mother Goose Award and the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal in the United Kingdom.

A Conversation with Judy Allen

What made you decide to create an encyclopedia about fantasy and folklore?

Kingfisher asked me to compile the encyclopedia because they knew I'd written about fantasy before. There are elements of fantasy in several of my novels for ten to twelve year olds, and also I co-wrote The Book of the Dragon, which is about dragons in history, mythology, and art.

What is the most surprising fact you uncovered?

That archaeologists in Germany and other parts of Europe have uncovered beaten gold cones with astronomical and astrological symbols on them, and that these are probably the origin of the wizard's traditional pointed hat (see pages 96 and 97 of book).

Who would you invite to a dinner party, and whom would you NOT seat together?

I think I'd ask the yeti, because if he showed up then I'd know he exists; the Chinese dragons because they're all so wise; a poltergeist, even though I know it would be very disruptive, because I'd like to ask how it achieves its effects; a hobgoblin or kobbold because not only would it be entertaining and fun, it would probably clear up afterwards; a Chinese unicorn because they're so gentle they won't even tread on insects and I like that in a companion; a witch's cat because I like cats a lot and it would be great to meet one belonging to a witch (though I suspect I already have); and Merlin because — well, because he's Merlin. As for the seating plan — I wouldn't want the poltergeist next to me. I think I'd be safest between the Chinese unicorn and Merlin. Guests definitely NOT on the list would be vampires and werewolves because they're always so aggressive and bad-tempered, and I don't think any of us would want to sit next to them.

Have you seen any of these creatures evolve?

At the moment the only ones I can think of are the wights. Originally they just guarded tombs and graves — but in The Lord of the Rings the Barrow Wights were scary and malevolent, and I think anyone who has read the book probably sees them that way now.

Which creatures do you think are most misunderstood?

Mummies and witches. Mummies are simply the bodies of the dead, which have been carefully preserved because those who loved them believed this was important. I think the idea that mummies would be vengeful comes from a sense of guilt — we probably shouldn't have dug them up and unwrapped them and put them on display. And witches? So many people assume they're evil and intent on doing harm — most of them are healers and very much in tune with the natural world.

Who is the next up-and-coming star in fantasy books for children?

I don't know, but I hope it's Jonathan Stroud, who wrote the foreword to Fantasy Encyclopedia. I love his work — it's funny and exciting and intelligent.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

A sense of wonder and excitement and a lot of food for their imaginations!

Twenty Fantastic Questions from the pages of Fantasy Encyclopedia

1. What is the Leprechaun's trade?
a) a tailor
b) a glassblower
c) a shoemaker

2. If you find your way into fairyland but would like to leave, what must you NOT do?
a) fall asleep
b) eat or drink anything
c) sing

3. What can protect you from goblins, bogeymen, and boggarts?
a) an umbrella or a raincoat
b) a bunch of flowers or a cabbage
c) a horseshoe or a four-leafed clover

4. Uldra are dwarves who live in the north of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, within the Arctic circle. What do they do in summer?
a) go water-skiing
b) go deep-sea diving
c) hibernate underground

5. Dryads are nature spirits. Which part of nature do they protect?
a) rivers
b) trees
c) mountains

6. The Russian leshies are woodland spirits who lead travelers astray. How do you escape from them?
a) walk on your hands
b) put your clothes on back to front
c) cross your fingers and hop

7. What does a yeti look like?
a) a very long snake
b) a very large ape
c) a very fat spider

8. The kraken is a sea monster that has
a) a huge snout with long teeth
b) a huge head with long tentacles
c) huge feet with long claws

9. The horn of a unicorn has magical powers that can
a) detect poison and make it safe
b) turn water into liquid gold
c) turn into a bird and fly away

10. Cerberus is the dog that guards the gate to the underworld. How many heads does he have?
a) one
b) two
c) three

11. How did the sirens lure sailors onto the rocks?
a) by cooking wonderful food
b) by singing beautiful songs
c) by pretending to be in need of help

12. If you looked directly at Medusa, or either of her gorgon sisters, what would you be turned into?
a) salt
b) a sandwich
c) stone

13) What is a Centaur:
a) part man and part horse
b) part man and part goat
c) part eagle and part lion

14) What are cyclops?
a) one-eyed giants
b) two-headed birds
c) fish who ride bicycles

15) What is the name of the Russian cannibal witch who likes to eat children?
a) Baba Yaga
b) Baba Yeti
c) Baba Blacksheep

16) What does the word wizard mean?
a) wise man
b) male witch
c) wand-bearer

17) What is a portal?
a) the cave of a sea monster
b) a doorway to another world
c) a bag for carrying magic potions

18) What is a scarab?
a) a beetle
b) a magical mark
c) a frightening ghost

19) What is the most likely time for a man to change into a werewolf?
a) at full moon
b) at new moon
c) when his dinner is late

20) Which of these is the best protection against vampires?
a) shellfish
b) garlic
c) mistletoe

All these fantastical answers and more can be uncovered in the pages of Fantasy Encyclopedia.

Home | FAQ | Contact Us |Site Map
Privacy Policy | Trademark Information | Terms and Conditions of Use
Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.