Family Treasury of Myths From Around the World – Book Review

Family Treasury of Myths from Around the World is a beautiful hardcover book which retells 10 classic myths.  The myths come from 8 religious traditions grouped into 4 categories: The Wraths of the Gods, The foolishness of the Animals, the Epics of Heroes and the Sun Gods. The stories are beautifully illustrated in a style inspired by the art of the culture that created the myth, and are told in a lyrical, not quite poetic, but definitely literary manner.  Still, the language is very approachable to a child 8 years or older.  Indeed, when I was reading my 9-year-old the African story of the Sparrows and the Hen, my daughter was happy to correct my pronunciation of “baobab tree,” she had learned about them in school.   The beauty and power of the language is quite surprising given that this is a translation from the French (the book was published in Belgium).

We’ve read more than half of the myths by now, most of us were familiar to us but four of them (from Africa, Japan and India)were completely new.  Those that we did know are retold in a different light in this book, which is helpful for making the point that myths have come down to us in a variety of versions.  Bear in mind that the myths can be quite violent.  In all, it’s another wonderful book I have Paperback Swap to thank for.