It surprised me to find a creation myth in which a creator's armpits sprouts the universe. Yet, is such an explanation any more fanciful than that of the first man being born of a pea pod? These stories are among 25 tales that comprise "In The Beginning, Creation Stories from Around the World," told by Edith Hamilton. Among more common themes, however, are the myths that imagine the beginning of the universe with the separation of light from darkness or water from earth. The creator can be male, female, plant, animal or mineral. In one instance, the universe rises from death. Some of the stories touch on familiar ancient gods and conclude with concepts from Hebrew texts of more than two thousand years ago. Life arises out of conflict in many instances. When the created one rebels against or competes with the creator, stories unfold about the meaning of life and the human condition in it. The competition between progeny of the creator(s), whether disinterested or deeply involved, can also explain many human situations and relationships. Winning many awards in young-adult categories, the book is richly illustrated by Barry Moser.
--Bob S., Rock Road Branch