The Bronze Cauldron Myths and Legends of the World: Myths and Legends of the World

Geraldine McCaughrean, Author, Bee Willey, Illustrator Margaret K. McElderry Books $19.95 (144p) ISBN 978-0-689-81758-8
As this book's title might lead readers to hope, the talented McCaughrean and Willey team (The Golden Hoard; The Silver Treasure) indeed serves up a tantalizing brew of storytelling, magic and spice. McCaughrean gathers 27 tales from nearly as many cultures and gives them her own special polish. From her dramatic accounts of Doctor Faust signing his soul over to the Devil, to the clandestine romance between Cupid and Psyche, to an Indian legend about a vicarious trip around the world, McCaughrean covers a broad range of themes and tones. Her careful descriptions evoke exotic lands and characters, while her easygoing, fluid writing and frequent flashes of humor make this collection eminently readable as family or classroom fare. Willey's predominantly dark, surreally hued paintings appear as both smaller spot illustrations and full-page works throughout. Such mythical beasts as dragons, witches, mermen and dancing fish populate her diverse scenes. As a clever design element, Willey includes a boldly patterned bar-shaped graphic beneath the title of each tale, hinting at its cultural flavor. A collection to relish. Ages 10-up. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/04/1998
Release date: 05/01/1998
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