Barefoot Books Reviewed by Mary Baldasaro
Barefoot Books, an imprint of Shambhala publications, Inc., offers three marvellous myths in keeping with its commitment to delight and inspire readers by publishing new and
The Myth of Isis and Osiris, retold by Jules Cashford. ISBN 1-56957-909-1 (hc) 29 P $19.50 Cdn, $15.00 U.S.
The ancient Egyptian myth of Isis. Isis and Osiris is one of the oldest known stories, predating even Homer by 2000 years. Cashford has recounted the drama of the Nile's cycle of life, death, and rebirth, a theme that can be found throughout the natural world in the rhythms of nature. The almost Biblical beginning of the story is engaging as Cashford introduces an exotic and
unfamiliar cast of characters. The tale advances, but the details of the story seem to break the flow for a time until the conclusion restores the rhythm. The book is appropriately and attractively decorated with photographs, line drawings, and colour plates from a variety of collections of Egyptian art.
The Outlandish Adventures of Orpheus in the Underworld by Paul Newham, illustrated by Elaine Cox. ISBN 1-56957-908-3 (hc) 31 P $19.50
Kun-Man-Gur The Rainbow Serpent retold by James Cowan, illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft. ISBN 1-56957-906-7 (hc) 31 P $21.50 Cdn
This aboriginal creation myth from Australia tells of the time, when the world was new, that the Rainbow Serpent helped the flying foxes. In this tale, their most revered spirit being, Kun-Man-Gur, creates and selects food for these creatures, separates the species, and shows himself, finally, to be the rainbow.
This deceptively simple tale is retold in a charming, folksy way. The different voices of the animal characters, such as Kunbul the Bat, speak to the reader (with Australian accents, naturally). Bronwyn Bancroft's stunning artwork depicts a time when the world was fresh. There is surprising similarity between the artist's vibrant Aboriginal images and those of Canadian Inuit First Nation artists.
The Second Story Review, Vol 1, No. 1, March 1996