Earth, Air, Fire and Water

Earth, Air, Fire and Water

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Since time began, people have been fascinated by the four elements -- earth, air, fire and water. Here are twenty-four stories about them, retold in powerful style and gathered from many cultures and many times -- from Peruvian Mayans, Canadian Indians, Missouri cowboys, Chinese philosophers, Hawaiians, Anglo-Saxons, New Zealand Maoris, and ancient Greeks. Juliet Heslewood's writing is compelling and often poetic, and the author thoughtfully provides considerable background on each story at the end of the book together with suggestions for further reading. Her storytelling has been praised in England as "strong and eloquent" (Junior Bookshelf) and now this fine collection is published in America for the first time. Each of the four sections is vividly illustrated by a different artist to suit the changing mood of each element. JULIET HESLEWOOD is the author of Tales of Sea and Shore and divides her time between France and more

Product details

  • 9-12
  • Hardback | 182 pages
  • 157.48 x 238.76 x 17.78mm | 498.95g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black and white drawings
  • 0192781073
  • 9780192781079

Review Text

At least one of the four classical elements plays an important part in each of these 24 traditional tales from around the world. From the fall of Icarus ("Air," though a case could be made for placing this in "Fire") to the Mayan "Fall of the Earth Giants," these folktales share common themes despite their varied provenance. The author takes versions from diverse (mostly British) printed sources and recasts them into clear, inviting prose, illuminating not only the storylines but their underlying symbolism. She admits to making minor changes for aesthetic reasons, not all of which ring true but which certainly aid readability. An appendix gives sources and background information, as well as suggested parallels in different tales. The dark, swirling, b&w illustrations, by four different illustrators, are appropriately stark and dramatic. This will appeal to older students of myth and psychology, but young readers who enjoy folk-tale collections might also be intrigued by the connections here. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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