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Mythology of the World
illustrated by Nicki Palin

KINGS, WINGS, AND ONE-EYED OFFSPRING: MONSTERS, SPIRITS, DRAGONS, AND GODS EXPLAIN THE UNIVERSE FOR CULTURES AROUND THE GLOBE

About the Book

(October 2004) The answer to the question "Who's your daddy?" could be Mawu if you lived within the African kingdom of Dahomey, Tirawa if you were a member of the North American Pawnee tribe, or Tohan if you belonged to the indigenous people of Malaysia. Whomever, or in some cases, whatever, the answer might have been, chances were excellent that it wasn't 100 percent human. Ancient civilizations believed that fearsome creatures, magical animals, and cantankerous deities gave birth to humanity, influenced human nature, and controlled the physical universe. Mythology of the World (October 2004, ages 9–14, $24.95) explores the development of these fantastic myths to explain the culture, spirituality, geography, and society of ancient civilizations.

Turn the pages to find out why the islanders of Rapa Nui traded away their holy images of the creator god, Makemake; marvel at the Mesopotamian epic of Gilgamesh; discover why the Viking gods are still alive in today's English language; walk through the ruined temples of the Greek gods; climb Mount Fuji, the home of the Japanese goddess Sengen-Sama; and find out why the Australian Warlpiri attack their fire ceremony dancers with flaming torches.

Weaving a rich tapestry of stories, characters, and beliefs, Mythology of the World's sparkling, readable text transports young readers through centuries of more than fifty myths from Europe, Asia, America, Africa, Australia, and Oceania. Children will be captivated by the enchanting fables, and are sure to delight in their own twenty-first-century scientific savvy, providing an ideal opportunity to open the door to further discussion on the science behind the fiction. A directory of gods, humans, monsters, and animals is included.

Kingfisher is an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Company. Kingfisher Young Knowledge and other selections from Kingfisher are available nationally at bookstores and on–line.


About the Author

Neil Philip has written many books about mythology. His passion for myths began in school, prompting his principal to comment, "Neil is myth mad!" He received his Ph.D. from the University of London in England with a dissertation on myth and folklore in children's literature. Neil is the author of numerous books for children, including many collections of fairy and folktales. He also writes for theater, TV, and radio.


About the Illustrator

Nicki Palin has exhibited her artwork in Liverpool, Stratford upon Avon, and London, England. Her work has also been nominated for the Mother Goose Award and the Kate Greenaway Medal in the United Kingdom. Nicki lives with her partner, dogs, chickens, and other birds in Norfolk, England. Her cottage was once home to a Bronze Age sacrificial victim who was discovered in the garden in the 1970's.


Discussion Questions

1. Why did a sailor's tears turn into pearls?
See page 63 The Finnish sailor was so moved by the beauty of the music he created on his Kantele (a zitherlike instrument), that his tears turned into pearls.

2. In order to be brought back to life, who was selected to take the place of a goddess condemned to the Underworld?
See page 69 The shepherd husband of the Sumerian goddess Inanna had to endure the Underworld.

3. Instead of swallowing his newborn son, what did the Greek mother goddess trick her husband into swallowing?
See page 30 The mother goddess, Rhea, tricked her husband, Cronus, into swallowing a stone.

4. On Easter Island, how can you tell if ancient statues are representing humans or gods?
See page 126 Statues that are carved with oval eyes represent humans while statues with round eyes represent gods.

5. According to legend, what happens to the North American Pawnee at the end of the world?
See page 110 The Pawnee believed that they were made by the stars and that at the end of the world they would turn into stars.

6. In a South American Yamana tribe, how did the women trick the men into doing all the work?
See page 125 Each day the women would go into a hut and scream and shout as though they were frightened to death. Then, the "spirits" they had called upon would come out of the hut and terrify the men into doing all the chores.

7. What words do not exist in Malaysian Chewong vocabulary?
See page 87 There are no Chewong words for war, fight, quarrel, crime, or punishment.

8. Why is Mount Fuji the highest mountain in Japan?
See page 93 When Buddha Amida proved that Mount Haku was taller, Mount Fuji was so angry that she hit Mount Haku over the head, breaking him into eight peaks.

9. What was created from all the saliva of Viking gods?
See page 151 The Viking god Kvasir, the wisest of all beings, was created.

10. What gruesome attack happened to the one-eyed Cyclopes?
See page 43 In order to escape certain death, the Greek hero Odysseus stabbed the Cyclopes Polyphemus in the eye with a red-hot stake.



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