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on 1 January 2008
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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on 29 August 2010
I think this is a really helpful book. It is very thorough in covering magical creatures from all over the world, and not just the well known ones.

Two reasons I haven't given it 5 stars:

1. Illustrations would really have improved this book. As it is, there are a few, but they are just random dragon pictures, nothing related to the creatures that are being listed.

2. A pronounciation guide for the names of all the creatures would have been really useful. This, more than the lack of illustrations, is this books real downfall.

Otherwise, I really recommend this book! It has every creature you could think of and more! I'd be amazed if there was a creature you could think of (that you haven't just made up yourself!) that isn't in this book! Very impressive and thorough!
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on 17 October 2006
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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on 20 December 2011
I already have two other element encyclopaedia books (5000 spells & witchcraft) which were perfect books. Full blue bound hard cover, with illustrated cover wrapped perfectly around. This is also what i expected with this book. Although £3 cheaper i figured must be the same as listed as hard cover.
I personally wouldn't go as far as to call this hard cover. I ordered it gift wrapped to ensue the book came in the best possible condition, but may not as well have bothered. This is a flexible cover, not bound as nicely as my previous orders; this looks more like a large children's book then a source of information.

Am still very happy with the book and am sure will be a source of great reading, just the cover that was a little disappointing for me. If you don't own any of the other books, then this would be a very delightful book to buy. I'm just moaning lol.
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on 31 January 2006
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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on 25 February 2006
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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on 9 July 2009
These books are we produced and very interesting but it really needs some illustrations to make it appeal to the younger audiences. I bought this hoping to read it with my Step daughter who is 11 and into mythical creatures in a big way. We like to draw and paint them too however some of these creatures are so unheard of we couldn't even find them whilst reading and "Googling" the names. Bit disappointed.
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on 20 July 2011
I bought this book as Hardback book ...but it is not. Its a paperback soft cover. I am unhappy as the only reason i purchased the book was to have it in hardback. The book itself is fine. Just unhappy about the book cover.
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on 24 April 2009
my 11 year old daughter thought that this book was lacking in pictures but that it was full of information about all sorts of magical creatures plus fascinating myths about animals that exist today. quick delivery
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on 2 January 2013
The book itself is a brilliant dictionary of creatures :) although it didn't come in the best of conditions but this might have been from the postman otherwise I can't complain :)
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