Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Encyclopedia Mythologica: Fairies and Magical Creatures

Encyclopedia Mythologica: Fairies and Magical Creatures

Matthew Reinhart, Robert Sabuda
Novelty Pop-up book
For ages 8 and up
Candlewick, 2008   ISBN: 978-0763631727

Many of us are fascinated by stories of fairies and other magical people who cast spells on humans, shapeshift, and grant wishes. In this book master illustrators and pop-up artists Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda explore a dazzling array of magical people and creatures.

They begin by taking a look at the many different kinds of fairies, elves, goblins, and other magical beings that live around the world. They tell some stories about these characters, and describe what happens when these magical beings encounter humans. Sometimes the outcome is happy, and sometimes it is downright disastrous. For example if you untangle a djinn's "knotted locks" he might be willing to give you a "wish or two." At the other end of the spectrum, if you live in goblin country you can be sure that these unpleasant creatures will give you bad dreams and turn milk sour.

Next the authors look at magical animals of all kinds. Unicorns, Pegasus, griffins, fairy cows, Chinese baku, and other creatures are all described. Of course we also get to see what these extraordinary animals look like as well.

On every double page spread in this fantastic title there is a main pop-up that rests in the center of the pages. Full of color, and with wonderful three-dimensional effects, these pop-ups will delight readers who enjoy this book art form. Then, all around this main pop-up, there are mini books that contain smaller pop-ups of all kinds. Well written and entertaining pieces of text flow around the artwork and pop-ups, and readers will be amazed at how much information is included in this book.