Myths of ten goddesses are presented in this elegantly formatted book. Representing ancient cultures from throughout the world, these deities include Changing Woman (Navajo), Macha (Celtic), Sedna (Inuit), Kuan Yin (Buddhist), Ix Chel (Mayan), Amaterasu (Shinto), Inanna (Sumarian), Durga (Hindu), and Mawu (Fon). Each goddess is introduced with a factual paragraph explaining her place in the beliefs of her people. This is followed by a five to six page narrative describing her birth (or creation), her heroic deeds, and her contributions to the life of her tribe. A full-page collage portrait enhances the image of each deity. In the back of the book, lengthy notes from both the author and artist provide interesting background information and add to the understanding of the text and illustrations. Tchana explains her motivation for researching and writing the tales. Hyman discusses her unusual collage techniques and the materials she used, such as handmade paper, bits of fabric, fleece from her own sheep, seeds from her garden, Kleenex, tracing paper, and toilet paper. She provides many details about specific pictures, seeming to invite the reader to go back and take a closer look. A list of sources is provided for those who wish to know more about these goddesses. 2006, Holiday House, Ages 10 to 16.
Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up-Empowered women are the focus of this collection and empowering young women is seemingly its intention. Drawing from the mythology of 10 diverse cultures (Navajo, Celtic, Inuit, Buddhist, Egyptian, Mayan, Shinto, Sumerian, Hindu, and Fon), Tchana demonstrates that legends of supernaturally gifted females are endemic in human belief systems, though they may have receded into the background in recent millennia. Tchana and Hyman united to bring goddesses back into the limelight in this handsome volume. The stories are each accompanied by a paragraph about the featured figure and her land of origin and each one is told with attention to the rhythms of their original languages. In an afterword, Hyman states that she contacted "each goddess personally-[to]-ask how she would like to be portrayed." The resultant lush, multimedia collages combine her characteristically sinuous ink lines with elements such as photographs, handmade paper, fabric, and fragments of other artists' paintings. It is certainly interesting to read about so many previously obscure goddesses. The subject of this volume, paired with the reputation of its illustrator, will induce many libraries to include it in their collections.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Why have the power and wisdom of goddesses faded so profoundly from our collective consciousness? What ancient truths might goddess myths unlock for young people today? These questions underpin Tchana's spare, yet richly detailed retellings. Ten goddesses emerge, from cultures spanning the planet. Macha, a Celtic goddess who runs with horses, curses the feckless people who abet their king's cruelty toward her. Kuan Yin, though born a princess, longs to fulfill her destiny as a compassionate Buddhist nun. Inanna, Sumerian goddess of agriculture and fertility, visits and magically returns from "the great below." The pact she strikes with still-clinging demons accounts for Earth's six months of barrenness, followed by fertile spring. The late Hyman's 12 luminous paintings incorporate collage for the first time. Her goddesses are stylized, with large eyes and lithe limbs-yet not idealized. In a fascinating note, Hyman explains, for example, that she under-painted Changing Woman's teenaged face with three others: a baby, mature woman and very old woman. Iconographic imagery embellishes portraits that seem to derive their grace and strength from the very goddesses themselves. A transcendent collaboration that will reward repeated study. (afterword, bibliography, author's note, artist's note) (Folklore. 9-14)