Wonder Beasts: Tales and Lore of the Phoenix, the Griffin, the Unicorn, and the Dragon

Overview

This book presents tales of mythical beasts, offering primary sources (e.g., the writings of Herodotus, original fairy tales, poems) within the context of background material and commentary. Discussion questions and activities complete each chapter.

Focusing on the phoenix, the griffin, the unicorn, and the dragon, this book combines tales and lore of each, presenting primary sources (e.g., the writings of Herodotus and original fairy tales and poems) within the context of ...

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Overview

This book presents tales of mythical beasts, offering primary sources (e.g., the writings of Herodotus, original fairy tales, poems) within the context of background material and commentary. Discussion questions and activities complete each chapter.

Focusing on the phoenix, the griffin, the unicorn, and the dragon, this book combines tales and lore of each, presenting primary sources (e.g., the writings of Herodotus and original fairy tales and poems) within the context of background material and commentary. The shifting images of these animals offer a unique perspective on myths, religions, art, literature, and science in history. Discussion questions and learning activities at the end of the chapters guide students in exploring the worlds surrounding each beast. Sure to appeal to all ages, this fascinating collection makes a wonderful supplement to world history courses and is a great resource for reports.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-This rather academic treatment of the beasts of legends includes encyclopedia-like entries, excerpts from classic texts, and more modern tales. Each chapter begins by tracing the orgins of the creature and discusses the forms it has taken in various cultures. Nigg presents ancient writings from such people as Herodotus, Pliny the Elder, and Ovid to give a historical literary picture, then includes more engaging stories from writers such as E. Nesbit and Lewis Carroll. Students who are working on reports or dedicated fantasy readers will find a wealth of hard-to-find information, particularly on the phoenix and the griffin, if they can get past the dry presentation and dull format. All of the type is set in a cranberry-colored font, and the sketches and maps are rendered in the same color, which creates little visual interest. For pleasure reading, students may prefer Jane Yolen's Here There Be Dragons 1993 and Here There Be Unicorns 1994, both Harcourt, which cover two of the same creatures as this collection and include more stories. The author provides an extensive list of references, but neglects to mention Yolen's books or Bruce Coville's Unicorn Treasury Doubleday, 1988. Wonder Beasts is more similar in tone to James Cross Giblin's The Truth about Unicorns HarperCollins, 1991, but is for older readers.-Cheri Estes, Detroit Country Day School Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563082429
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/15/1995
  • Pages: 188
  • Sales rank: 834,964
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

JOE NIGG, a writer and editor in Denver, Colo., is an expert on mythological animals and has published three previous books on the subjectThe Book of Gryphons (Applewood Books, 1982); Gryphons: The Strength of Lions and the Flight of Eagles (Green Tiger Press, 1982); and A Guide to the Imaginary Birds of the World (Applewood Books, 1984).

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Table of Contents

The Letter of Prester John
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
The Phoenix 3
The Phoenix from the Past 3
The Sacred Phoenix of Egypt (Herodotus) 8
The Phoenix (Ovid) 9
The Phoenix of Arabia (Pliny the Elder) 10
The Phoenix Appears in Egypt (Tacitus) 12
The Old English Phoenix (Old English Poem) 13
The Phoenix Around the World 16
The Phoenixes Are Flying (Chinese Ode) 19
Saijosen and the Phoenixes (Japanese Fairy Tale) 20
The Phoenix and the Falcon (Russian Fairy Tale) 21
The Phoenix Today 31
The Phoenix and the Carpet (E. Nesbit) 31
David and the Phoenix (Edward Ormondroyd) 37
The Griffin 43
The Griffin from the Past 43
The Gold-Guarding Griffins (Herodotus) 48
The Griffins and the One-Eyed Arimaspi (Pliny the Elder) 49
The Gryphons of India (Aelian) 50
Griffins of the China Seas (Benjamin of Tudela) 51
The Griffons of Bactria (Sir John Mandeville) 52
The Griffin Around the World 53
The Old Griffin (German Folktale) 58
The Griffon (Italian Fairy Tale) 64
The Griffin Today 70
Alice, the Gryphon, and the Mock Turtle (Lewis Carroll) 70
The Unicorn 75
The Unicorn from the Past 75
The Wild Unicorns of India (Ctesias) 80
The Unicorns of Basma (Marco Polo) 81
Unicorns in Mecca and Zeila (Lewis Vartoman) 82
The Unicorn (Edward Topsell) 84
The Unicorn Around the World 87
Gift of the Unicorn (Chinese Folktale) 89
The Fair Maid and the Snow-White Unicorn (Scottish Folktale) 90
The Unicorn Today 96
The African Unicorn (W. Winwood Reade) 98
The Last Unicorns (Edward D. Hoch) 100
The Dragon 105
The Dragon from the Past 105
Perseus and Andromeda (Ovid) 110
A Dragon Hunt (Philostratus) 113
Beowulf's Dragon Fight (Old English Epic) 115
The Dragon (Bartholomew Anglicus) 117
The Winged Dragon (Edward Topsell) 119
The Dragon Around the World 120
The Student and the Dragon King (Chinese Fairy Tale) 125
The Lambton Worm (English Folktale) 129
Why the Moon and the Stars Receive Their Light from the Sun (Ashanti Folktale) 132
The Dragon Today 134
Tale of the Computer That Fought a Dragon (Slanislaw Lem) 135
More Wonder Beasts 143
Wonder Beasts of Ethiopia (Pliny the Elder) 144
The Griffin's Song (Barbara Wersba) 147
References 151
Index 155
About the Author 160
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