A thought-provoking collection of twenty-five stories that reflect the wonder and glory of the origins of the world and humankind. With commentary by the author. “A must for mythology shelves.”--
In 25 myths, life begins after some being either directs others to get or make soil, or forms the earth from nothing, or opens a box, or separates earth, sky and waters; the methods of creation are only limited by the number of stories in the book. The tales are varied, representing many world cultures and traditions; somelike the story of Pandorawill be known to readers, although they may not have identified it previously as a creation myth. The tellings, too, are varied, sometimes somber and other times lilting. In her introduction, Hamilton calls the phrase "In the beginning . . . " a "classic opening, although not the only opening," but many of the tales begin this way, which suggests a tacit endorsement of the phrase. Additionally, she asserts that limitations of space "do not allow for all of the important world myths to be presented here. Also, not all myths are easily rendered on a level of understanding for many readers." Simply by addressing such limitations, Hamilton embraces the only problem with the workthat it does not encompass every culture or even every world region. Moser''s watercolors gleam like jewels amid the setting of the text. His people and creatures gaze out at readers, as if to challenge their imaginations to comprehend the chaos before creation. All ages.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Grade 6 Up Twenty-five creation myths from such diverse cultures as China, Tahiti, Micronesia, and Australia. Illustrated with 42 dramatic , full-color paintings, this is a handsome representative collection. Hamilton''s introduction briefly defines creation myths and places them within the formal cultural structure that gives them authority. Her commitment to stay true to the simplicity of style of many creation myths results in some brilliant retellings, complete with the clarity of vision and fluidity of language synonymous with her work. While most of these retold myths are highly successful, others lack the precision of the ``perfect word'''' associated with Hamilton. (One example is the jarring use of the modern word ``aide,'''' as in aides to a god in a Zambian creation myth.) Although the placement of the explanatory notes at the end of each myth is less effective than if they were placed at the beginning, the book is handsomely designed. Each myth opens with a striking full-page painting, each of which is truly evocative and powerful in design and content. Text and illustrations together result in a strong, effective piece of work. Janice M. Del Negro, Chicago Public Lib .
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Virginia Esther Hamilton was born, as she said, "on the outer edge of the Great Depression," on March 12, 1934. The youngest of five children of Kenneth James and Etta Belle Perry Hamilton, Virginia grew up amid a large extended family in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The farmlands of southwestern Ohio had been home to her mother''s family since the late 1850s, when Virginia''s grandfather, Levi Perry, was brought into the state as an infant via the Underground Railroad.
Virginia graduated at the top of her high-school class and received a full scholarship to Antioch College in Yellow Springs. In 1956, she transferred to the Ohio State University in Columbus and majored in literature and creative writing. She moved to New York City in 1958, working as a museum receptionist, cost accountant, and nightclub singer, while she pursued her dream of being a published writer. She studied fiction writing at the New School for Social Research under Hiram Haydn, one of the founders of Atheneum Press.
It was also in New York that Virginia met poet Arnold Adoff. They were married in 1960. Arnold worked as a teacher, and Virginia was able to devote her full attention to writing, at least until daughter Leigh was born in 1963 and son Jaime in 1967. In 1969, Virginia and Arnold built their "dream home" in Yellow Springs, on the last remaining acres of the old Hamilton/Perry family farm, and settled into a life of serious literary work and achievement.
In her lifetime, Virginia wrote and published 41 books in multiple genres that spanned picture books and folktales, mysteries and science fiction, realistic novels and biography. Woven into her books is a deep concern with memory, tradition, and generational legacy, especially as they helped define the lives of African Americans. Virginia described her work as "Liberation Literature." She won every major award in youth literature.
BARRY MOSER is the prize-winning illustrator of many beautiful books for children and adults, including Harcourt’s Telling Time with Big Mama Cat and Sit, Truman!, both co-illustrated by his daughter Cara Moser and written by Dan Harper. He has won the American Book Award and earned accolades from the American Library Association and the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Mr. Moser lives in western Massachusetts.