While the first chapter opens with a tongue-in-cheek warning, “Do not expect ever to see a phoenix. They are very rare,” the volume goes on to recount the many ways that the mythical creature appears in ancient and contemporary culture. The first chapter features legends of the immortal bird from all over the world, including Egypt, Rome and Greece, as well as versions from both Christian and Jewish lore. One Jewish story depicts the phoenix as one of the passengers on Noah's ark, refusing food despite his hunger and thus granted eternal life by God. Some scholars point to real birds, such as flamingos, herons, birds of paradise and the golden eagle, as inspirations for the phoenix—so that while the bird itself may be a myth, its legend has traveled the globe, finding its way to Saudi Arabia, Russia and the Far East. The second chapter examines some of these variations, including the Chinese fenghuang, the Japanese Ho-Wo and the Iranian simorg. The richly colored illustrations portraying some of these fascinating creatures add interest to the volume. The third chapter focuses on ways the phoenix has inspired more recent stories, such as the Russian Firebird ballet. Sometimes the legend takes on its own somber reality—in 1843 a Cherokee newspaper, whose editors had spoken out against the Indian Removal Act, was destroyed by fire; although the Cherokee were forced to march on the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma, the Cherokee Phoenix is published there today. The final chapter explores the phoenix's place in popular culture, from experimental cars to military missiles to the Phoenix Mars Lander, aptly named after the NASA research mission “rose from the embers, or ashes, of previous missions to Mars.” This entertaining volume will leave readers wondering where the phoenix might turn up next. Highly recommended for school and public libraries.