Title: Encyclopedia Mythologica: Gods & Heroes
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2009
Creators: Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda
Pages: 12 pp.
Price: $29.99 US
Myths and legends of the Gods and heroes of old spring to colorful life in this gorgeous, intricate pop-up book. Each two-page spread offers a stunning center-page pop-up. Anubis, bearing an ankh in His right hand. The whole of Mount Olympus, Gods and Goddesses feasting and making merry. The Argo, sailing into unknown lands. Great Thor, Mjolnir raised high to strike. Pele, lava flowing from Her crater. And Quetzacoatl, feathered body a rainbow swirl. Side panels further explore the myths and Gods of the same pantheon (e.g., the tale of Demeter and Persephone on the Mount Olympus page) or those from a nearby peoples (e.g., the Iroquois tale of Celestial Woman on the Aztec page).
I only have two related complaints about the Encyclopedia Mythologica. One) it’s not long enough. And two) too much space is devoted to the Hellenic pantheon. Considering the incredibly rich tapestry of myths and legends available to Reinhart and Sabuda, they could devote an entire series of pop-ups to the subject. As it is, only the “major” pantheons are represented, while others are given short shrift (Sumeria gets a single side panel) or skipped entirely (Celtic myth, the Aborigines of Australia, et cetera).
I love this pop-up. While not appropriate for very young readers (who would likely rip the fragile paper creations), this would be a wonderful gift for anyone seven years or older. I highly recommend it to fans of the authors’ previous works (especially Sabuda’s Tutankamun’s Gift), as well as the Stephanides Brothers series on Greek mythology; Earth Mother by Ellen Jackson and Leo and Diane Dillon; Goddesses: A World of Myth and Magic by Burleigh Muten and Rebecca Guay; and Medusa Jones by Ross Collins.
So, there’s going to be another one, right? Yes? Please?
[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of EHS.]