Truth, Myth and Legend: Dragons

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Passes's roundup of 11 brief dragon tales spans many centuries and continents, beginning with a creation story recorded on clay tablets in Babylon some 4000 years ago. According to this legend, Tiamat, a female dragon who was ``the spirit of salt water and chaos,'' did battle with the powerful god Marduk, who split her body in half, shaping the heavens from one and the earth from the other, and making order from chaos. Some familiar heroes appear on these pages: Passes includes accounts of Hercules slaying the nine-headed Hydra; Beowulf as an old man staging his final fight, with the ``fearsome fire dragon''; and the most celebrated dragon-slayer of all, Saint George, whose conquest of the dragon symbolizes the triumph of Christianity over evil. Varied and intriguing as these tales are, their inherent drama is not well served by Passes's dry, distant narrative style. Though polished, Anderson's ( Ratsmagic ) elaborate, imposing renderings (both color and black-and-white) of fire-breathing dragons do not meet the high standards set by such related titles as Dragon Feathers (reviewed above). Ages 8-up. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-This beautifully illustrated collection of stories from diverse places and times includes the tales of Heracles (Hercules) and the nine-headed Hydra, Beowulf and the fire-breathing beast that killed him, and Britain's dragon-slaying patron, Saint George. There are also lesser-known tales from Babylon, India, and China. Each story is condensed and presented on two pages, along with a statement of its origin; these short renditions relate the basic points of the tales, though some readers may be familiar with-or crave-more detail. A section called ``Dragons from around the World'' offers one-paragraph descriptions of the many types that appear in mythology. The text concludes with a whimsical ``Dragon Poem,'' in which a child asks her nurse at bedtime, ``Are all the dragons fled?'' Anderson's lavish paintings depict fanciful creatures of all shapes and sizes slithering across the pages. Many of them are in color, ranging from lizardy brown to fiery red to stunning bright green; the exquisite details make them look deliciously, horribly alive. Text and artwork combine to produce a medieval aura that will appeal to fans of fairy tales and fantasy.-Mary Jo Drungil, Niles Public Library, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307175007
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/1993
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 1 - 8 Years

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