Laura's Reviews > The Lore of the Unicorn

The Lore of the Unicorn by Odell Shepard
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's review
Sep 27, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: nonfiction, mythology

I have had this book on my shelf forever but had never quite gotten to reading it. I'd read every book on unicorns available at our city library when I was little, so I had a fairly good overall sense of the variations in the mythology at a basic level, but it was great fun to read a "grown-up" study of the legend now. Much of it I had come across before (the old naturalists' descriptions over time and place), but there was a lot of new insights here as well, such as tracing the origins of the unicorn's powers back through older myths (I particularly liked linking the virgin capture-story to a much older legend about capturing rhinos with a dancing, tickling female monkey). I would occasionally get lost in all the names Shepard would throw around, and there were times when I couldn't stay oriented as to what timeframe he was discussing, but for the most part, this seemed a comprehensive overview of unicorn legend. A winning aspect for me was also Shepard's dedication to studying the unicorn and its importance without ever making a point of whether or not the beast itself is "real", something the "factual" children's books I used to read could have learned from.
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Reading Progress

September 27, 2009 – Shelved
September 27, 2009 – Shelved as: nonfiction
September 27, 2009 – Shelved as: mythology
Started Reading
October 1, 2009 – Finished Reading

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