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These volumes are part of the Mythology A to Z series from Facts On File. Each volume has a similar format: an introduction includes a history of the culture(s), an explanation of the book, and a pronunciation guide, followed by a time line and a map. The main text is an alphabetical listing of names, places, and ideas important to the mythology of the culture. The definitions are mostly brief--a single paragraph--although some are as lengthy as a page. Many black-and-white illustrations, mostly of artifacts, enhance the text. Each volume includes a good bibliography with Internet addresses.
The series is designed for young people in junior high and high school, and it is appropriate for younger children who are better readers or interested in mythology. Except in the Celtic volume there is not much storytelling since the volumes are intended to be encyclopedias rather than collections of stories. They will help students to make connections between mythological characters and images and compare similarities between cultures. The indexes are constructed to help make those connections, too. Multiculturalism and world history are an integral part of most school curricula, and this series fits both of these themes.
Although the pronunciation guides in the introductions are excellent, a young audience also needs pronunciations at appropriate entry headings. It is difficult to remember strange pronunciations or to flip to the front of the book to figure out how to say foreign names. It seem a disservice to the Native American, Meso-American, and African cultures to lump so many of their mythologies into such a few pages. Another disservice is the use of some English translations as main entries in the Native American volume, with see references from the Native American terms. Although this is explained in the introduction, it reinforces attitudes of cultural superiority.
The beliefs of many Native American peoples emphasize a close relationship between people and the natural world, including geographical features such as mountains and lakes, and animals such as whales and bison. Therefore, many of the myths of these peoples are stories of strange occurrences where animals or forces of nature and people interact. These stories are full of vitality and have captured the attention of young people, in many cases, for centuries. Native American Mythology A to Z presents detailed coverage of the deities, legendary heroes and heroines, important animals, objects, and places that make up the mythic lore of the many peoples of North America from northern Mexico into the Arctic Circle. A comprehensive reference written for young people and illustrated throughout, this volume brings to life many Native American myths, traditions, and beliefs. Offering an in-depth look at various aspects of Native American myths that are often left unexplained in other books on the subject, this book is a valuable tool for anyone interested in learning more about various Native American cultures.
This volume brings an occasion to learn more about ancient civilisation. Native American myths, traditions, and beliefs, are part of American History.