(review originally published in 2015, book purchased by reviewer)
There are a lot of things to like about this book – it’s straight forward, and will be easy for kids to understand. It talks about family, culture, lore, relationships with the Gods, and more…all in a pretty short book. When the title says Basics, it really does mean basics. There’s little depth, but a lot of info here that could lead to good questions and discussions for any family.
I do have a couple of minor quibbles. First, there are no page numbers. Second, the author says in at least two places that such-and-such deity may have a different name in other cultures, which seems a little on the soft-polytheism side of things for most Heathen/Asatru folks I know. Third, the author talks about pre-Christian Pagan/Heathen peoples as being indigenous to their homelands, and proceeds to define that as “having lived in their land for a very very long time” – I’m not sure that can be said of any group or culture anywhere, as fights broke out and people moved when conditions changed. But the fact that she pairs this whole statement with an image of a plains Indian, in a full headdress, makes the statement stand out more to me, because one side of my family is Native, and is from a plains tribe, and they were not the first people in the places they inhabit now – they pushed other tribes out so they could have better hunting lands.
At any rate. I really feel like this could have been a longer book, or had a workbook with it, or something. There’s almost nothing about actual Heathen/Asatru lore here. There’s a really good focus on how culture is a thing, and how we learn from our culture, and that a culture being different doesn’t make it bad. I really think most Pagan families would find good stuff here, and plenty to think about in terms of how they approach culture and tradition in their own homes.