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Encyclopedia of Urban Legends


In his preface and introduction, Brunvand explains the topic's provenance from a scholarly perspective, making this an ideal resource for a creative school report. Readers will learn about the "The Hook," "The Baby-sitter and the Man Upstairs," and other modern urban legends that they may have missed hearing or reading on the Internet ("The Madalyn Murray O'Hair Petition"). The entries are mostly arranged alphabetically by title; some are found under their subject or geographical location of origin. Many have useful cross-references. In a few paragraphs, each story is related and placed in proper historical context. The author recognizes the role of such legends in popular culture and how they change over time and telling. Articles on broad themes (e.g., "Military Legends," "Animals in Urban Legends") are featured throughout. Occasional black-and-white cartoon drawings illustrate the book. A fascinating and trustworthy purchase.
Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL

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Tags: Encyclopedia, Legends, Urban, widely, recognized