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Freygood, Steven.

Toronto, Key Porter Books, c1983. 222Pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-919493.J4-9.CIP

Grades 5 and up
Reviewed by Grace E. Funk

Volume 13 Number 1
1985 January

Erudite, witty, highly entertaining and just faintly alarming, the introduction to this book is probably as clear an explanation of myth as you will find. The stories themselves are a glorious mishmash of ancient myths connected by outrageous comments on Canada and Canadians.

Freygood makes full use of a storyteller's licence to present a delightful feast. Instead of leaving us to puzzle over details of past ages, he moves to a modern idiom. The devastating impact is hilarious; for example, the Queen of Winter "keeps me in a noisome dungeon and makes me clean all the cat-litter trays and feeds me junk food all the time that makes my face break out." Good, solid scholarship provides material for his wry ingenuity. My delight was crowned when I discovered Angus of the Bright Birds, rny favourite among the overlooked gods, even if he is described as "a real creampuff." The black-and-white drawings are completely appropriate—bold, contemporary and humorous.

The title is slightly misleading: these tales may be told in Canada, but only some of them are Canadian in origin. However, Freygood argues, Canadian myths are "a significant and continuous link with man's great mythic traditions." Myths, he says, are descriptions of the human universe, but Canadian myths describe Canadians, and Freygood has got us down pat. A brief bibliography directs further reading in mythology, but you will have to look far for another collection as penetrating as this one. All ages will enjoy it.

Grace E. Funk, Harwood E.S., Vernon, B.C.
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