March 31, 2017

Goddesses from around the world

The Lady Of Ten Thousand Names
retold by Burleigh Mutén
illustrated by Helen Cann

Eight goddess stories from Egypt, China, North America, Wales, Scandinavia, Japan, Nigeria, and Greece. 

Changing Woman and Her Sisters: Stories of Goddesses from Around the World
retold by Katrin Hyman Tchana
illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman

Ten goddess stories belonging to the Navajo, Celtic, Inuit, Buddhist, Egyptian, Mayan, Shinto, Sumerian, Hindu, and Fon cultures.

These stories are elegantly retold, although Mutén's prose is awkward at times, particularly in her stories about Isis, Kuan Yin, and Ama-Terasu. These are the only goddesses that appear in both books. Tchana's prose flows better; she chooses slightly different spellings and names (Amaterasu and Susanowo instead of Susa-no). 

A few of the stories are disturbingly violent; even powerful female gods are abused by their male counterparts. But the goddesses are resilient, and use their strength, wisdom, and compassion for triumphant conclusions. 

The art in both books is beautiful. Cann's smaller illustrations and border decorations make her pages very pleasant, while Hyman's full-page collages are striking and powerful. 

Both books include source notes for each goddess. Tchana and Hyman also include detailed notes about their inspirations.

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