This student encyclopedia provides middle school and older students with an excellent introduction to world mythology. The 302 alphabetically-arranged articles describe mythological characters and beings, deities, individual myths, recurring themes and belief systems. Thanks to their familiarity and influence in western literature and art, Greek and Roman myths are given the most attention, but all major world religions and over 40 cultural groups are represented. Depending on the type of article, the content varies, but most entries provide an overview of a particular character, god, or hero, with summaries of the major myths associated with the figure. Essays on belief systems describe major myths and core deities. Articles on specific tales like Beowulf or The Iliad, explore story structure and significance as well as plot. From creation stories, the underworld and floods, to tricksters, dragons and heroes, selected articles treat characters and beliefs that occur across several cultures. All entries describe the cultural and historical contexts for the stories represented in myths. Key themes and symbols are highlighted and the influence of particular figures in art, literature and popular culture is noted. The editors take great pains to relate such cultural influences in terms that younger readers will appreciate. Thus, such examples are often drawn from comic books, Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, Disney movies or even James Franco films. To help promote critical thinking and encourage classroom discussion, each article concludes with provocative questions or suggestions for activities. As an aid to students, all supplementary materials, including the introduction, index, brief timeline and a subject arranged general bibliography, are reprinted in each volume. Although designed for middle school students, this guide will serve a wider audience in high school and public libraries.