Goddesses: A World of Myth and Magic is a delightful-looking book that works best as a picture book, introduction to some of the more obscure goddesses, and as a kind of illustrated dictionary than as a scholarly work. Goddesses features more than 100 goddesses in alphabetically arranged entries, from a multiplicity of cultures. For example, alongside the well-known Greek and Roman goddesses, the reader sees Sarasvati, the Indian goddess of knowledge and Olwen, the goddess of sunlight, who "opened the blossoms of all flowering trees and plants" for the people of Wales. Each entry provides a description of the goddess, her powers, and often a telling anecdote or story. Thoughtfully, the author has included a list of goddesses by country, culture, and domain.

The watercolor-and-gouache illustrations are colorful and serve to break up the blocks of text, ranging in size from small vignettes to full-page paintings. The illustrations are truly what make this book one to own, and push my review into the “good, own if you can” range.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author:  Burleigh Muten

Illustrator: Rebecca Guay

Barefoot Books, 2003

pp. 80, $19.99