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Literature / Fantasy Encyclopedia

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The cover depicts the perfect place to find many of the creatures within...

"A guide to fabulous beasts and magical beings, from elves and dragons to vampires and wizards."

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.
  • Advertisement:
  • 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."

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    Tropes Applying to the Whole Book 

Tropes 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.
  • Leprechaun
  • Dark Elf
  • Glamour
  • 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: It features an image of a gremlin flying an airplane. They are generally described as being little pests.

     Elementals and Nature Spirits 

    Mysterious Animals 

     Fabulous Beasts 

    Mythical Beings 

    Magic and Spells 


    The Undead 
  • Dracula: Appears in the secon section on vampires along with a summary of the book and how he changed the depictions of later vampires.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Two sections for vampires: the first on older, coarser vampires of legend, and the second on Dracula and his ilk.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Describes the various ways zombies have been created over time.


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