Sacred Myths: Stories of World Religions

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
At least one way of fostering tolerance and understanding is to introduce children to the grand diversity of the world's religious traditions and narratives. McFarlane has selected some of the best-known stories from Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Native American religions and has rendered them in accessible prose with full-color, almost holographic, illustrations. McFarlane retells the myths of the founders of each of these religions, as well as the myths which narrate specific events such as the creation of the world. Thus, the author captures the beauty of the prophetic dream, telling her that her newborn son will become a great spiritual leader, that Siddhartha's mother allegedly had just before the birth of her son. She also narrates the myths surrounding the Hindu elephant-headed god, Ganesh, and his adventures. Since the tales McFarlane has chosen to include are key texts in the world's religions, the collection represents a very good introduction to these traditions. In addition to the 35 stories collected here, McFarlane has included a glossary, a pronunciation key, introductions to each section and a list of books to encourage further reading. Ages 10-up. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-McFarlane retells 35 of the "best-known stories of the main religions in the world today." There are selections from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Judaic, and Native American traditions. The reteller also presents stories associated with Paganism, Neo-Paganism, Wicca, Goddess Religion, Eco-Feminism, New Age Spirituality, and the Old Tradition. Highly attractive full-color illustrations were created by the use of digital techniques. The stories are designated as myths, and the reteller explains that while not "literal fact," the myth conveys "an important truth about life." In a laudable effort to stress commonalties between religions, controversial aspects have been omitted. Also, in attempting to be clear, the author occasionally talks down to readers. Nevertheless, this title might be a starting point for guided discussion or further research, and the artwork will please browsers. Gods and Men (Oxford Univ. Pr., 1993), covers some of the same ground. That title is organized in thematic sections and includes tales from ancient Greece and Sumer.-Libby K. White, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Subtitled "Stories of World Religions," this is a flashy but piecemeal collection of 35 short myths, legends, and folktales, all drawn from—or shoehorned into—seven living traditions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, generic Native American, and Sacred Earth, the "Earth-centered movement that has developed in the late twentieth century [called variously] Paganism, Neo-Paganism, Wicca, Goddess Religion, Eco-Feminism, New Age Spirituality, the Old Tradition. . . . " Every creed is introduced with an account of its history and values, plus a characteristic version of the Golden Rule, followed by retellings of incidents from the lives of its prophets and leaders, and well-known episodes from its literature or tradtions.

The stories neither uniformly show the Golden Rule in action, nor in their brevity communicate any but the most superficial sense of their traditions. The dazzling, obtrusive design features photo collages for a dramatic but abstract effect; not all of the images are well-chosen (a figure from Japanese art illustrates a story from Tibet), and many are digitally manipulated almost beyond recognition. The writing is unforced and aptly formal, but McFarlane paraphrases biblical and other authoritative texts without explanation, and cites specific sources for very few of the selections. Stick with more focused collections, such as Virginia Hamilton's In The Beginning (1988).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780963832771
  • Publisher: Sibyl Publications, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/28/1996
  • Pages: 101
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.23 (w) x 12.32 (h) x 0.62 (d)

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