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King, Celia
Vancouver, Raincoast Books, 1994. unpaged, hardcover, $11.95
ISBN 1-895714-43-5. CIP

Grades 4-10 / Ages 9-16

Reviewed by Gillian Martin Noonan

Volume 22 Number 6
1994 November / December

Some years ago, Celia King combined a knowledge of the ancient past with a lively interest in presentation to produce the first of a series of handsome, informative pop-up books that have earned her a devoted following. Her latest, Seven Mythical Creatures, is a natural inclusion in the series; indeed, one wonders why it wasn't the first, given that the subjects predate just about everything we call human.

In format, tone and delivery, Seven Mythical Creatures is as beguiling as its predecessors, in some ways even more so, since animals, however fantastic, possess greater appeal for young readers than any building or natural wonder. The creatures include the dragon, mermaid, unicorn, phoenix, sphinx, Medusa and Pegasus. The descriptions of their nature, their associations and their symbolism are admirably written. The pop-up feature pages, which highlight each creature, are dramatic, colourful and occasionally whimsical; Pegasus and Medusa are stand-outs.

One hopes that the fascination that Seven Mythical Creatures inspires will prompt readers to explore the subject further.

J.E. Simpson is a retired art supervisor with Edmonton Public Schools in Edmonton, Alberta

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