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African Myths and Beliefs

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Amy Sisson
The World Mythologies series offers fairly detailed glimpses into the beliefs and myths of several ancient cultures. One volume, for instance, describes a wide variety of African folklore and traditions, another focuses on Ancient Greece and Rome, and a third examines similarities and differences between the many cultures native to North America. Sections within the books run twenty to thirty pages each, and are broken up into easily digestible subsections. In addition, all three volumes contain illustrated sidebars detailing specific legends or other items of interest, such as the history of the Greek Olympic games, an African tale about a heavenly blacksmith, and Native American anecdotes of trickster gods.Although the books are structured consistently across the series, they wisely do not try to shoehorn the content into exactly parallel formats. While each book begins with an historical overview and discussion of creation myths and ends with a "legacy of" segment, the intervening sections of each book are particular to the culture in question, such as separate sections on the first and second generations of Olympus gods in the Greece and Rome volume. Photographs of ruins, preserved art and emblems, and relevant scenery are mixed with maps, illustrations, and the occasional timeline or family tree in an attractive layout that nicely balances graphics with text that is neither too babyish nor too advanced. In addition to the three titles reviewed, this series also has entries about the myths and beliefs of ancient China, ancient Egypt, and ancient India. This series is a good choice for public and school libraries, particularly in communities that include ancient history and anthropology as part of their social studies and history curricula. (World Mythologies) Reviewer: Amy Sisson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781448859894
  • Publisher: Rosen Publishing Group, Incorporated, The
  • Publication date: 12/15/2011
  • Series: Rosen World Mythologies Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Cradle of Humankind 6

Africa and Its Peoples 8

Picture Essay: Ancient Palaces of the Kings 24

Wonders of Creation 26

Oldest Tales of the San 28

The Separation of Heaven and Earth 30

Making the Earth 34

Ancestors of Humankind 38

The Duality of Twinship 42

The Origin of Cattle 44

Life's Staples of Food and Fire 46

Ancient Serpent Beings 48

Picture Essay: Scars of Ancestry 50

An Ordered World 52

The Coming of Death 54

Living in Terror of Witches 58

Seeking Sanctuary from Shapeshifters 62

The Diviner's Secret Arts 64

Brotherhoods of the Initiates 68

The Roles of Men and Women 70

Learning Lessons from the Animals 72

Picture Essay: Death's Rich Ritual 76

Heroes and Tricksters 78

The Epic Songs of the Bards 80

Wonderful Children 84

Lonkundo the Hunter 86

Son of Death 88

The Blacksmith Culture Heroes 92

Anarchic First Man 94

Unwitting Agents of Order 96

Keen Wits of Ananse 100

Hlakanyana the Zulu Trickster 102

Legba the Lecher Cod 104

The Outwitting of the Mischief-Maker 108

Dark Spirits of the Forest Fastnesses 110

Picture Essay: The Mystique of Masks 112

Kingdoms and Empires 116

The Kings Who Came from the Sky 118

The Vanishing City 122

The Lion of Manding 124

The Queen of Sheba's Son 126

The Wise and Peaceful King 130

A Hero Betrayed 132

The African Legacy 134

Glossary 138

For More Information 138

For Further Reading 139

Index 139

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