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Wonder Beasts: Tales and Lore of the Phoenix, the Griffin, the Unicorn, and the Dragon Hardcover – 15 Jun 1995

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More About the Author

Since the early 1980s, Joseph (Joe) Nigg has explored the rich cultural lives of mythical creatures in a variety of styles and formats for readers of all ages. His books have garnered multiple awards, and his current international bestseller, "How to Raise and Keep a Dragon," has been translated into more than twenty languages.

"Griffins, the Phoenix, dragons, unicorns, and other traditional animals of the imagination are all around us in words and images," Nigg writes. "But when you delve into the histories of these creatures, you'll find an incredible wealth of cross-cultural lore intertwined with history, myth, religion, art, literature, science, and specialized areas such as alchemy and heraldry. While looking beyond the popular presence of mythical beasts, you'll discover as much about the history and dreams of the human race as about our animal creations."

Nigg has been writing about fabulous beasts ever since he became intrigued by a fantastic animal figure on an antique lamp in his study. The winged lion with a fish tail eventually led him to the local art museum, where he was allowed to hold an ancient Persian silver cup embossed with griffins. That experience resulted in his first book, "The Book of Gryphons" (Apple-wood Books, 1982), a lavishly illustrated history of the eagle-lion beast. Since then, his scope has broadened to the entire host of fantastic animals worldwide. After twelve years of research and writing, Nigg recently completed THE PHOENIX: A CULTURAL HISTORY. The most comprehensive Phoenix study to date, the book traces the transmission and transformations of the mythical bird from ancient Egypt to the present.

He was born in Davenport, Iowa, and grew up throughout the Midwest. Holding an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Denver, he taught at several colleges and served as the executive editor of a global network before writing full time.

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?Wonder Beasts will be useful to students who are researching myth and folklore, and to librarians and scholars who are looking for a comprehensive source list on the topic. The book is beautifully laid out...It is obviously a labor of love.?-Voya

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The fabled phoenix is a crimson, gold, and purple bird with sweeping tail and jeweled eyes. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A Great Reference Book 9 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book provides accurate, concise information about the legends associated with several mythical beasts. It's both a great quick reference for writers and an enjoyable read for fantasy fans who want to know more about the origins of their favorite creatures.
Charming and Magical Volume 2 Jan. 2014
By Stephanie Black - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a unicorn enthusiast and bought this book to add to my collection of references. I expected to get good information from this book, and it certainly delivered. It is concise, easy to read, and enjoyable. I have referred to it and added it to my bibliography list many times in the few months I've owned it.

What I didn't expect was to be utterly charmed by the short stories and sensitive approach to the magic of these mythical creatures. I especially loved the extracts about the phoenix. In fact I read it when I was sick and blame it for lifting my spirits and helping me get better quicker :D

Worth the money and time of any magical creature enthusiast, and a great introduction to the popular magical creatures for anyone who is wondering what they're all about.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Fun! 12 Jun. 2003
By Angel Horvath - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This little book packs a powerful punch. It's got everything, and it's presented concicely. Definitely a "buy" recommendation!
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