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The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures Paperback – 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 554 pages
  • Publisher: HarperElement (2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0007931468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007931460
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.6 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 256,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

With stories and amazing facts on even the most obscure mythological creature,this is a cornucopia of magic and folklore.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Whimsical Witch on 17 Oct. 2006
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of mythical beasts, faeries and the likes. And I have always whished for a proper encyclopedia to dive into when I encounter one I havent seen before in books ect. This one is perfect.

Allthough I wish it would have had some pictures in it to easier identify creatures, and they have gotten quite a few nordic beings completely wrong, as well as forgotten a few. I still feel this is the best ency of this category so far.

And a plus, it's not very expensive, but it is huge!
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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Kim on 31 Jan. 2006
Format: Hardcover
I saw this on a shelf in a shop in town, picked it up, flicked through it and within half an hour of getting home it had been ordered!
It's absolutely fascinating, as for the content the title tells you every thing that you need to know, it's an encyclopedia of Magical Creatures, but the first thing I've actually read was the introduction which interested me, and even my biology obsessed other half sat and listened withi interest when I read things out to him. As well as discussing myth and legend it also discusses animals from and biological aspect (where they could have developed from if they were real etc) and from a psycological aspect (why are we so fascinated by them)
The main body of the book is, obviously the encyclopedia, which is in alphabetical order, as well as an incredibly concise index. The introduction suggests that you dip in and out of the book, but I can't resist reading it from cover to cover. I'm only on 'B' so far because I'm having to limit myself, if I didn't it'd be devoured in two days and I'd forget to eat and drink!
The encyclopedia describes the animal where a description is known, gives it's origin, peoples beliefs about it, and the creatures use in contemporary fiction... for instance did you know that Dobby the House elf from Harry Potter developed out of a belief that if you wanted to get rid of a member of the fairy folk you gave them clothes?
In short it isn't possible for me to praise this book enough, I'm telling every one who'll sit still for long enough about the things I've read. Well worth the money!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brida TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Jun. 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This encyclopedia is absolutely brilliant. I also have the encyclopedia in their series for witchcraft, and that is equally as good.

As someone who enjoys reading re-tellings of fairytales, children's literature and books on mythology, THE ELEMENT ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MAGICAL CREATURES has proven to be an excellent addition to my collection. Because it is such a huge book, this is one to dip into now and then, whenever you come across something you may not have heard of before. You are sure to learn a lot more than you had anticipated - there are some creatures in here that you may not class as 'magical'. For example, eels were one creautre I was surprised to see included (they are sacred to the ancient Greeks).

What I love about this volume is that there is so much information, collected from many cultures and times in the world. One reviewer said they have made some mistakes regarding Nordic beliefs; as I do not know about this area, I cannot comment upon whether the authors have made mistakes or omissions. But, what I can say, is that even if there are some errors, this encyclopedia is so good that it can easily encourage people to learn more.

The major gripe I have with the volume, however, is the lack of illustrations to help identify the creatures. I think that is the only way this could have been improved.

As an easy, quick reference to mythical and magical creatures, this is an excellent place to start. It is informative whilst also firing your imagination and desire to find out more.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Fairuza Foch on 1 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you are interested in magical and mythical creatures then look no further than this book. It features all creatures from all cultures and is very handy because it lists everything alphabetically and cross-references creatures from across the globe. It is truly a universal book in the sense that there is no region that has been overlooked, which is a refreshing change from all the eurocentric tosh that is on the market these days. It is brilliantly researched and could be used as an invaluable resource for those of you attempting to write your own fantasy stories. As well as providing descriptions of creatures as varied as sylphs, dragons, morrigans, selkies, djinns and moonbirds there are synopses of myths concerning the creatures featured. For example under "swan" the authors provide two examples where they feauture in early Irish myth alongside the general description of what they symbolise across the globe. It is wonderful to dip into when you want to relax and would look very handsome on any coffeetable.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Far and Wide on 12 Sept. 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a big solid book, absolutely packed with interesting facts about pretty much any creature you can think of, along with thematic topics such as animal "guides" etc.

The only disappointment with this book is the total lack of illustrations. It's all text, and I think it would have benefited hugely from some illustrative pictures.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Feb. 2006
Format: Hardcover
Having already owed another book from this series, i found this to be exactly what i expected, a diamond of resource! fully comprehensive encyclopedia, well researched and well presented - a must for any interested in myths, legends and cryptology!
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