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The Element Encyclopedia of Magical…
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The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures: The Ultimate A-Z of… (2004)

by John Matthews, Caitlín Matthews

Other authors: Andy Paciorek (Illustrator)

Series: Element Encyclopedia

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
626624,064 (4.21)1
"From unicorns, salamandars, satyrs, giants, elves and trolls, to dragons, nymphs, mermaids, werewolves and griffins -- take an enchanting journey through the history, folklore, and mythology of these beasts from virtually every culture in the world."--p. [4] of cover.
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Although [b:The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures: The Ultimate A-Z of Fantastic Beings From Myth and Magic|88770|The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures The Ultimate A-Z of Fantastic Beings From Myth and Magic|John Matthews|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328858786s/88770.jpg|85635] is quite informative (with a universal and extensive coverage/description of mythical and fantastic beings, combined with a good and usable bibliography at the back), there are simply too many niggling, problematic academic issues for me to rate this book with more than two stars.

My main objection, my main problem with the book is that I actually found one huge, glaring and problematic factual error. In the entry describing the demonic entity Dahak, authors John and Caitlin Matthews claim that "the creature was born from the evil will of Ahuramazda, the personification of evil in the Zoroastrian system" (an assertion that is totally false, because in the Zoroastrian system, Ahura Mazda is considered the personification of good, it is his opponent, Angra Mainyu (also known as Ahriman) who is considered the personification of evil, mistaking Ahura Mazda for Angra Mainyu is basically akin to mistaking God for Satan, for Lucifer). If one notices a basic and substantial error such as the former, one by necessity often begins to question other entries, particularly those describing creatures and entities of unfamiliar, less commonly known traditions and mythologies (and while I have only found this one glaring error so far, there is really no way for me to check wether the information on magical creatures and fantastic beings unknown or not as well known to me is factually correct, because the authors have also chosen to not make use of bibliographical references within the text proper, another serious academic shortcoming that also severely limits the potential use for and of this encyclopedia for serious academic research, except for perhaps the bibliographical list).

While I actually quite enjoyed reading [b:The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures: The Ultimate A-Z of Fantastic Beings From Myth and Magic|88770|The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures The Ultimate A-Z of Fantastic Beings From Myth and Magic|John Matthews|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328858786s/88770.jpg|85635] and found/find the information fascinating and interesting, I would not want to recommend this book for serious, scholarly research. Due to the fact that I have located factual errors within the text proper, I feel that I must warn potential readers/users of this encyclopedia that there might be more errors I have not noticed (and certainly not to rely on [b:The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures: The Ultimate A-Z of Fantastic Beings From Myth and Magic|88770|The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures The Ultimate A-Z of Fantastic Beings From Myth and Magic|John Matthews|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328858786s/88770.jpg|85635] for academic purposes, to verify and check the information presented, especially if using the book for university or college level research). ( )
  gundulabaehre | Mar 31, 2013 |
I haven't read this book yet, as I just picked it up today for $10 at Half Price Books. I grabbed it as soon as I saw it as I know the other Element Encyclopedia books I have are wonderfully written, well researched and an absolute must-have for the curious in all of us. I can't wait to reach this find in my 'To Be Read' stack! ( )
  Sylverlynxx | Jan 17, 2011 |
I found this awesome book on the sale rack for $9.99 but now that I've got it and read it I gladly would have paid full price for it. It covers every continent except Antarctica and covers some obscure Japanese creatures that even my Japanese wife didn't know or had forgotten about. EEMC is definitely a top shelf book for fans of fantasy and mythology. ( )
1 vote Esper_Ranger | Apr 6, 2010 |
A very good guide to fantastic beasts. I do not think it covers the same breadth of information as, say, Carol Rose's Giants, Monsters, and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth, but it is more accessible since it doesn't read quite like an encyclopedia. And it has more pictures, if that's your thing. ( )
1 vote serpentkills | Jan 10, 2009 |
Very good, handy resource. Only earns 3.5 stars from me because it has the same issue many similar types of books do--not enough time spent on every entry. A good resource and a fine start filled with many creatures I learned a bit more about because of this book. Worth the cover price--a good buy for kids just getting started in myth and legend and fantasy reading (or writing). ( )
1 vote SeriouslySaoirse | Aug 13, 2007 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Matthewsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Matthews, Caitlínmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Paciorek, AndyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to the loving, wise and magical Dwina Murphy-Gibb
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We live in a city of gargoyles and fabulous beasts. (Foreword)
Here are creatures of every possible kind. (Introduction)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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