I fell in love with the wonders of Mythology in college. It was the similarities between mythologies that grabbed me at first, like the reoccurring stories of younger gods defeating older gods. But as I delved deeper into it, I became equally fascinated with how different cultures in different landscapes view the world with fascinating originality.
There are an infinite amount of strange and wonderful mythological tales, not to mention variations of those tales that make it difficult to follow. Speaking as someone who has grown up familiar with Hindu mythology, there are at least three different origin stories to the universe. It’s difficult for adults to follow, so how do you introduce the wonders of mythology to children in a way that is captivating that also makes sense?
Thiago De Moraes’s Myth atlas: maps and monsters, heroes and gods from twelve mythological worlds, is a wonderful answer to that question.
If you have even a mild interest in Mythology– the cover alone will hypnotize you with it’s flashy gold highlights of decorated gods and creatures from the the 12 different represented mythologies.
Thiago’s illustrations are beautiful and also child friendly. The format is pretty simple with each mythology having their own section that starts with a one page intro. This is followed by a a glorious spread of the imagined universes, with images and short descriptions of the gods, goddesses, and creatures doing their thing. It is a refreshing and more playful introduction than the usual family tree format. It is then followed with information on particularly important artifacts that are also wonderfully illustrated.
Overall it is a great introduction, though for the the mythology aficionado, there might not be enough in here to satisfy you. But if you are interested in studying a new mythology and are wondering which path through the infinite to take, this book is sure to spark your curiosity.
And for the intended audience of kids, you might find yourself checking this book out again and again and again.