the book cover
The Fantasy Encyclopedia by Judy Allen is a children's encyclopedia of numerous creatures and magic beings told in stories and myths. Contrary to potholes in the page quote, the book actually describes the origins of the entries and tells of them in their most traditional forms, and also compares those forms to the more modern depictions. A little over 130 pages long (not including the index or glossary) the book is filled with illustrations and descriptions of the creatures, as well as noting famous examples. Another feature of the book is a small box on certain pages that lists examples of the entries in books and movies, sort of like this site. Contains a forward by Jonathan Stroud, author of the Bartimaeus Triology. Also serves as a Mythbuster by showing how people long ago crafted tales through exaggerated descriptions of actual animals or occurrences (i.e. the Manticore being a Tiger), but also leaves some events ambiguous to their true nature.The entries are sorted into chapters, in this order:
- The Little People: Elves, dwarves, goblins, fairies and whatnot.
- Elementals and Nature Spirits: Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Mysterious Animals: Creatures that have been around and discussed for thousands of years, and if they exist.
- Fabulous Beasts: Here There Be Dragons...and sea monsters, and magic horses, and giant monster birds.
- Mythical Beings: Crack open your Greek/Egyptian Mythology book. Also has mermaids.
- Magic and Spells: Witches and Wizards and Sorcerors, oh my! Notable entries include Morgan Le Fay, Circe, and Merlin.
- Shape-Shifters: A relatively short chapter, werebeasts galore.
- The Undead: If the creepy title isn't enough, the dark illustration of a graveyard should help.
- Ghosts and Spirits: Distinctively separate from The Undead in that the former are walking corpses.
- List of Creatures by Area: "Certain magicians and monsters were born and lived (or still live) in one location. It is those that are listed here."
—-The Tropes of the Entries By Chapter
The Little People
- The Fair Folk: From mischievous to downright evil. The majority of the first few pages of this chapter detail these elves.
- Little People: Same as above.
- Fairy Godmother: "The fairies from fiction almost always carry wands. The Christmas Tree Fairy or a fairy godmother would seem powerless without this important piece of magical equipment. Traditional elves and fairies rarely, if ever, use such things.
- Dark Elf
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Has a section titled "Light and Dark Elves".
- Our Fairies Are Different
- Christmas Elves: Mentioned.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Actually, a bit of a mix-up. While they are miners and steelworkers, dwarves are bearded only because they are elderly. Also, every illustration of them features them looking more like Gnomes (which is explained later). However, this statement comes off as a bit of ironic humor: ''"Dwarves are very helpful and are believed to be good fortune. However, it is wise to leave food for them and never to swear or even whistle when they are around.
- Faux Flame: What a dwarf can appear as to miners.
- Griping About Gremlins: Features an image of a gremlin flying an airplane and are generally described as being little bests.
Elementals and Nature Spirits
- Elemental Powers: You didn't expect this chapter not to have this, did you?
- Elemental Embodiment: Played straight, with all of the creatures listed on the trope page being featured on the chapter's first section, as well as mentioning Paracelcus as the namer for a few.
- Salamanders for Fire (also compares them to real life salamanders and why they wouldn't exactly work as fire elementals).
- Sylphs for Air, described more as spirits than winged fairy-like creatures.
- Undines/Nereids for Water.
- And of course, Gnomes for Earth. Although these look more like Jawas than stubby little fat guys with cone hats.
- It also mentions the Eastern elements as well:
- A yellow phoenix for Earth
- A red pheasant for Fire
- A white tiger for Metal
- A black turtle for Water, sometimes with a serpent
- And a green dragon for Wood.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: "Gnomes are not at all like garden gnomes, who are really dwarves, a mistake that began in early fairy tales.
- Nature Spirit: Nymphs, dryads, and many others, such as the god Pan and The Green Man, aka The Leaf King.
- Back from the Dead: "No matter how often he is cut down, the Green Man will always live again."
- Plant Person: Some spirits, most notably the Green Man, whose picture is a green man with a flowery and leafy crown and a thorn vine-wrapped sword.
- Ghost Lights: The Phantom Lights section.
- Yowies and Bunyips and Drop Bears, Oh My: Well, Bunyips at least.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: What all of these monsters are. Also has a note of a real life giant squid being 40ft long.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Every single one of them.
- With a positively terrifying illustration of giant, horned, sea serpent. Ironically enough, a photo caption actually says that Leviathan and Behemoth may have been based on the whale and the hippopotamus.
- Kraken and Leviathan: Both are featured, with a positively terrifying illustration of giant, horned, sea serpent. Ironically enough, a photo caption actually says that Leviathan and Behemoth may have been based on the whale and the hippopotamus.
- Everything's Squishier With Cephalopods: What the book says that the Kraken is "generally" thought of.
- Sea Monster: Naturally.
- What Happened to the Mouse??: A particularly frightening picture of a manticore is the illustration for the chapter's title page...and then it is never even mentioned in the rest of the chapter.