Nov. 2nd, 2010

lauredhel: The Lad in a hat, animated, various expressions (ladanimated)
[personal profile] lauredhel
Can anyone specifically recommend or disrecommend an English-language Encyclopedia of Mythology for a fairly high reading level eight year old? I'd like one that's strong on Egyptian, Greek and Norse but with plenty of others in there, one that is good on the mythical monsters and cool/gross stuff, and one that has fabulous, large, abundant illustrations. And one that's much more comprehensive and detailed than the usual stuff pitched at eight year olds, but that still has engaging text and a touch of storytelling flair, instead of dry encyclopedic droning.

Normally for well illustrated nonfiction I'd just grab whatever Usborne or DK floats to the top, but my searches aren't turning up something likely-looking from those sources. The page counts of their books makes me think they'll fail on the "comprehensive" criterion: they seem to be introductions and overviews, not books to look up minor players and get the whole story. I'm thinking along the lines of 500-1000 pages.

Should include plenty on gods/goddesses/heroes/beasts/cryptozoology in the first instance, perhaps more so than "fairy tales" (I have some separate faerie sources, we have Grimm etc, and Spiderwick does a decent magical-wildlife directory. We have a children's Bible and are working on suitable other volumes for the mythologies generally recognised as religions around here).

Initially it will be used to look up, say, manticores or minotaurs or Apollo or Artemis or Thor or Loki or the Asphodel Meadows or Anubis or Ammit or Ouranus or the cyclopes. Etc. (You can probably guess what we've been reading/watching lately just from that!) Then on from there for a broader view of world mythology. I'd love a book that includes American, Subcontinental and East Asian, and Islander & Australian mythologies, but could live without it and get those in separate volumes if there's a really really good Euro/North African/Middle East volume I should be looking at.

Should I settle on multiple DK volumes, one for each set of mythologies? Larousse has been mentioned - but is it well-illustrated enough and interesting enough for a child in lower primary school? Something else? Am prepared to pay a fair bit for a nicely presented suitable hardback, or multiple quality smaller volumes. Can import from USA or UK.

I'd appreciate any help!

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