Reviews for Native American Mythology

VOYA Reviews 2013 April
The Mythology and Culture Worldwide series debuts with eleven titles. In Mayan Mythology, Currie provides an overview of Mayan civilization, society, and religion (including a mention of the Mayan calendar and the end of the world, an idea familiar to many teens) before discussing specific gods and goddesses and stories. An entire chapter focuses on the good-versus-evil story of the Hero Twins, while the final chapter looks at the universal nature of Mayan myths, highlighting parallels between Greek characters such as Heracles and Orpheus. In Greek Mythology, Don Nardo presents the theory of Greek myths as memories of ancient Greek culture, made larger than life with the passage of time and the desire to explain the creation of the world and natural occurrences via gods, monsters, and heroes. Teens whose interest has been sparked by Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series will be pleased that Percy receives a mention, and enjoy the gory, less-fictionalized details of the lives of the gods. A final chapter, "Greek Mythology's Enormous Legacy," holds especial teen appeal, with a nod to stop-motion animation and a list of myth-based pop-culture names. In Native American Mythology, Q.L. Pearce introduces North America's First Peoples by looking at the ten geographical regions of tribes (outlined on a color-coded map preceding the text), and then, armed with this environmental and societal knowledge, at some of their myths, deities, and spirits. Emergence stories and earth-diver stories are presented as the two main types of creation myths. Cross-cultural connections, such as Sedit's similarity to the Greek myth of Icarus, are noted, and even Twilight's Quileute mythology receives a mention (though Stephenie Meyer's name is misspelled) Though they are written by different authors, all three books maintain a scholarly, somewhat dry tone, with citations and fact boxes quoting academic works on their subject, as well as primary sources. Many of the myths are retold, and this is where the text becomes lively and readable. Teen readers may struggle with the textbook look and feel, but will be rewarded with up-to-date information providing a solid historical context for understanding each culture's mythology as a mirror of its society. Assuming the entire series is consistent in its format and content, it is a strong addition to school and public library nonfiction collections.--Rebecca O'Neil Index. Glossary. References. Biblio. Further reading. Sources. Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.