This week’s word is “Portmanteau.”
This week for Word Wednesday I have a lovely book from Laurence King Publishing. Myth Match, created by the enigmatic sounding “Good Wives and Warriors” (click that link, I promise you won’t regret it), is a more grown-up version of the pre-school flipbook. Myth Match will appeal to older children and adults, who love monsters, mythology, and awesome artwork.
What Is Myth Match?
Unlike most books, Myth Match opens up with its spine in a horizontal position, rather than vertical. It begins with a dragon, opening so that the top of the double-page reads “Dragon.” Below that there is some, what collectible card game players would call “flavor text,” that describes the dragon and its mythology. The first picture is a stylized representation of a Dragon that displays a strong Chinese influence.
The dragon picture is split vertically down the middle, which is the key to how the book works its magic. If you turn over both panels simultaneously, you reveal a unicorn, the next two a griffin. Things would be nice enough it that’s all there was to it. The pictures are fabulous, and the flavor text so evocative and engaging, you want to feast your eyes on each page. Yet, each time, this conflicts with the desire to find out what’s next (a pegasus).
But there’s a whole lot more to it than that.
You don’t have to turn both panels at once. You could just turn one panel over to make a “Unigon” or perhaps the other side to create “Dracorn.” You now have two hybrid animals, each with artwork that fits seamlessly together and better still, the flavor text marries up to create two new hybrid descriptions. Multiply this across the 64 pages and you have yourself an amazing work of art with over 1,000 combinations. – Drafin, Unisus, Pegacorn, and so on!
Of course, you won’t be systematic in your approach, you’ll want to fling the book open at random, creating a Cerialla, Al-Milzotl, or Chisonney.
Why Read Myth Match?
Myth Match is the sort of book you can lose hours in. Suppose you were meant to be writing a book review, perhaps for a book about mythological monsters. Imagine you’d allowed yourself plenty of time to do so before picking up the kids. What’s likely to happen is that you’ll spend so long leafing through the lovely artwork, marveling about how cleverly the descriptions match up, you might suddenly discover you should have left 10 minutes ago, and you haven’t written anywhere near enough words. That’s entirely hypothetical, of course.
Read Myth Match if you’re interested in monsters, mythology, or artwork. Read it if you have a sense of wonder. Read it if you love riotous imaginative pictures. Don’t read it if you only have 5 minutes to spare!
Myth Match is a lovely book to spark the imagination. If your children need to create a monster for a piece of writing, give them this book. If you need something for your next D&D campaign, forget the Monster Manual, take a look at Myth Match. To borrow from the sticker on the front cover, it’s an extraordinary “fantastical flipbook of extraordinary beasts.”
If you’ve enjoyed this book, take a look at my other Word Wednesday posts, here. Look out for more gorgeous Laurence King, books appearing in this column soon! (Also, here’s another Laurence King GWAW collaboration.)
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Myth Match, in order to write this review.