The Orchard Book of Creation Stories Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-10-18 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings

"When the World Was Young: Creation and Pourquoi Tales retold by Margaret Mayo and illustrated by Louise Brierley 1996

Categories/Genres for this class fulfilled by this book: Traditional Literature

Estimate of age level of interest: Grades K-7

Estimate of reading level: Grade 3

Brief description: Ten creations stories from across the globe are retold in this beautifully illustrated book.

Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre and subgenre and discuss how they appear in your book: Each of the creation stories in this book is simple and direct, but told in lyrical, masterful prose. Each has an easy-to-follow plot structure - an important characteristic of traditional literature - making it an ideal book for elementary readers. Secondly, the book’s beautiful full-page and small watercolor illustrations add meaning and understanding to each creation myth. These stories spark discussion about the beliefs of various cultures in the ancient world.

In what ways and how well does the book as a whole serve its intended audience?: When the World Was Young is wonderful as a read aloud for a wide range of readers in elementary and middle school. It may be used intermittently with a study of the ancient world or as an avenue for comparing and contrasting various cultures’ creation myths.

Awards if any:

Links to published reviews from professional sources e.g. ALA, Booklist, Kirkus, SLJ, etc. if any: List of multiple reviews at this link:
" said.

"This book contains 11 creation stories from all around the world, The story I have chosen to review is one about how the Sun was made and is called ‘Emu and Eagle’s Great Quarrel’, told by Australian Aborigines.

This story is about the world before people when there were only animals, large animals. The era was ‘Dreamtime’ and Biame was the Great Spirit who was creating the world.

The animals lived in darkness and were always quarrelsome. On one particularly grey and gloomy day, the Eagle swooped down to catch a tasty morsel for his supper when, due to the darkness, he flew straight into the Emu. They fought, pecking and clawing each other, pulling out feathers. Then the Emu kicked the Eagle, who became so mad that he took one of the Emu’s eggs and flung it upwards into the sky. The egg landed on the wood that Biame was using to create part of the world and it broke, as it did so the wood caught alight and it gave out a golden, dazzling light. Shining above the world. Everyone was so amazed at how beautiful the world looked that they became happy and contented.

When the fire died down, Biame decided it was too gloomy and asked his spirit helpers to keep the flame alight. So that was how the sun was created and day and night came into being; the bright light in the morning when the fire was fed, to the dull red embers of the approaching night. Following this Biame created the morning star to wake the birds, and as the Kookaburra had an amazing laugh, he asked him to laugh every morning to wake all the other animals. The Kookaburra felt very proud at this request. Thus everyone enjoyed the start of their new day.

The stories in this book are wonderfully magical. They are cross-curricular as they relate to RE, PSHE and Geography, not to mention the endless possibilities within English, Drama and Dance.
" said.

"3.5 stars. An interesting collection of stories about how the world/people/life etc came to be. A few I was aware of, but one or two were new to me, particularly The Magic Millstones. I love mythology and folklore and few things give such an insight into a group of people as where they believe they came from and how they explain the world around them. The stories include:

The Girl Who Did Some Baking - Why do people come in different colours? It depends how long you leave them in the oven of course! This is a pretty popular concept in stories worldwide. This particular version involves Nyame - sky god of the Akan-Ashanti.

Catch It and Run - Animals steal the first fire from the gods. A popular Native American legend. I particularly liked how the fire was hidden in the tree - explaining why rubbing sticks together can make fire.

Maui and His Thousand Tricks - A Polynesian story in which the title character catches the sun to make daytime longer.

Tortoise's Big Idea - A really sweet story, this one, in which tortoises and people (but not rocks) decide they want to have children. To do so, the god tells them that if they have children, they have to give up eternal life and one day die (or there would become too many people/tortoises/etc). They all willingly choose death so that they might have children. Origin: Nigeria - Nupe tribe.

Raven and the Pea-Pod Man - This Eskimo/Inuit legend places a raven as god and creator. His descendants become the ravens we know today.

Emu and Eagle's Great Quarrel - An Aboriginal story about the sun being created from the golden yolk of the emu's egg, kicked out of the nest by the eagle after they bump into each other in the dark. The moon is created to make sure the night-owls of the animal world still get up on time. Kookaburras become mother nature's alarm clock. I rather liked this one.

The Magic Millstones - A Scandinavian tale about, of all things, why the sea is salty. It's all down to greed and a set of magic millstones apparently. I'm rather intrigued by the women who work the millstones although I tend to think they're more like the Norns than the Valkyries, which Mayo also mentions. My favourite story of the bunch. I so should have taken Viking Studies.

The Mud on Turtle's Back - Another pretty well known Native American (Iroquois/Huron) story of how the earth is created. Turtles seem to be particularly popular in creation stories.

Ra, the Shining Sun God - Egyptian story which tells us about the creation of people, why monkeys look like people and why the sun is in the sky, amongst other things.

Feathered Snake and Huracan - Quiché Maya - It took the gods several tries to get people that were clever enough to worship them, but not so clever to see them as equals.
" said.

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