Wednesday, November 29, 2023

LEGENDS OF NORSE MYTHOLOGY, best-loved tales and characters for juvenile readers

(illus. Isabella Mazzanti)
Wide Eyed Editions
$24.99 hardcover, available now

Rating: 5* of five

The Publisher Says: Legends of Norse Mythology is a fully illustrated anthology of Norse gods, giants, monsters, and heroes retold anew.

Featuring beautiful and otherworldly portraits of mythological characters from Isabella Mazzanti and enchanting text from Old English scholar and Norse mythology expert Dr Thomas Birkett, this collection of timeless tales is the perfect gift for lovers of Viking myths as well as readers looking for an introduction to this epic world of mystical power, battles, quests and intrigue.

With this book, readers can take an adventure through time to a realm of ice and fire, magic and mischief. They’ll meet a cast of characters from Norse folklore and be swept up in their epic deeds and fates.

Inside, there are more than 30 profiles of Norse figures—from gods and goddesses, to giants, elves, monsters and other mythical beings. Each profile introduces the figure, including their defining attributes and a new retelling of their story, along with sidelights of extra facts and details. Figures include familiar gods like Thor to lesser-known legends such as giant sisters Gjálp and Greip.

A captivating visual portrayal of each figure helps crystallize these beings in readers’ imaginations. Isabella Mazzanti’s evocative artwork perfectly express the fantastic traits and powers of the mythical figures within.

Interspersed with the profiles are summaries of four famous Norse tales and events:
  • The story of Ymir and the Nine Worlds
  • How Thor’s Hammer Was Made
  • The Mead of Poetry
  • The Tale of Ragnarök
  • A visual feast and a journey to another world this book is perfect for the whole family to explore and enjoy. From the trickster god Loki and his mischievous ways to the powerful Norns—the three women who weaved the destinies of all living beings—discover why these incredible stories are still a part of our culture today.


    My Review
    : Written by a scholar for non-scholarly readers, this is a terrific overview of the pantheon and mythos of the Norse peoples. I know I was a mythology hound starting at about six years old, and would've loved this book had it been around in the 1960s! I won't recommend that you hand it to anyone under eight, or a very mature seven-year-old, but rather read it to/with them. Norse mythology contains ideas and events that, even made age-appropriate, are permaybehaps just a bit too much for the very young. By fourth grade, they should be hardy enough to process this level of conflict without it causing issues. The illustrations are gorgeous to my eye:

    Lovely object, packed with well-told myths from a culture Westerners owe a lot to, and just right for Yule gifting to your elementary-school aged giftee.

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