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Favorite Greek Myths

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This handsome collection consists of a dozen tales from Greek mythology, most drawn from Ovid's Metamorphoses , including the stories of Echo and Narcissus, Ceres and Proserpine, Cupid and Psyche, King Midas. Osborne's retellings are both lively and descriptive, while Howell's full-color, often iridescent illustrations set the scene and mood at the start of each tale. Taken together, they provide a solid and highly readable introduction to the major Greco-Roman gods and goddesses and the myths that have profoundly shaped Western thought and literature. Helpful back-matter includes a list of key characters, partial lexicon of modern words drawn from the myths, bibliography and index. Ages 7-11. (May)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Osborne provides a wonderful retelling of a dozen myths including the lesser-known story of Ceyx and Alcyone and perennial favorites such as Echo and Narcissus, Cupid and Psyche. In the introduction, Osborne tells readers that many of these stories were used to explain the mysterious of nature and as entertainment. To illustrate, Ceyx, the king, is the son of the morning star and his wife Alcyone is the daughter of the king of the winds. When the king is lost at sea, he and his wife eventually metamorphose into sea gulls. The halcyon days are ones of calm when the winds no longer blow and the gulls sit on their nests. This delightful collection is derived from Ovid's Metamorpheses and the myths are given a glorious treatment with Howell's sensuous full-page illustrations. Narcissus is indeed beautiful. A added touch includes small black and white insets appropriate to story (seagulls, spider weaving a web, a narcissus flower). A section that lists the gods, goddesses, and mortals who wrote the myths using modern words with Greek origins, a bibliography and index round out the book. A good resource for home and libraries.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-- Not a comprehensive collection, this book contains retellings of Apuleius' ``Cupid and Psyche'' and of 11 stories from Ovid's Metamorphoses. The prose is lively, the versions faithful, and each myth has a full-page, gold-warmed painting in a realistic but slightly Art Deco-archaic style. Roman names are used, with Greek equivalents given but no pronunciation key. A list of modern myth-related words classifies them as of ``Greek origins,'' though many (e.g., cereal) are patently from Latin roots; and some obvious choices (jovial, panic, psychology) are omitted. The brief introduction repeats the dubious idea that Greek myths ``explain'' nature, which in any case is not a help in understanding Ovid's reworkings. Many more stories (including those of Prometheus, Pandora, Deucalion and Pyrraha, Io, Niobe, Pygmalion, Oedipus, Bellerophon, Perseus, Heracles, Jason, Theseus, Odysseus, et. al. , all missing here) and illustrations can be found in the Macmillan Book of Greek Gods and Heroes (1985) or Gods, Men and Monsters from the Greek Myths (Schocken, 1982). --Patricia Dooley, University of Washington, Seattle
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590413381
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/1989
  • Series: Poetry and Story Collections Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 214,489
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.43 (w) x 11.19 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Pope Osborne

Mary Pope Osborne is the acclaimed author of many books for children. She is best known for her Magic Tree House series as well as her titles in the Dear America and My America series. She lives with her husband in New York City.


Ever since 1992, Mary Pope Osborne has been thrilling kids everywhere with her delightfully exciting Magic Tree House series. The globetrotting escapades of time travelers Jack and Annie are brimming with adventure and magic (not to mention some subtly placed lessons on history and geography). With a life like Osborne's, it's only natural that she would be capable of bringing such wondrous stories to life.

Osborne was brought up in a military family, and her parents' work led to a lifestyle marked by constant change. "By the time I was 15," she says on, "I had lived in Oklahoma, Austria, Florida, and four different army posts in Virginia and North Carolina." While many kids would probably feel disoriented by such constant change, Osborne wouldn't have had it any other way. "Moving was never traumatic for me, but staying in one place was. When my dad finally retired to a small town in North Carolina, I nearly went crazy with boredom. I craved the adventure and changing scenery of our military life."

And adventure is exactly what Osborne got! After college, she embarked on a series of daring treks across the globe that would surely give Jack and Annie a run for their money. "For a while I camped in a cave on the island of Crete," she said. "Then I joined up with a small band of European young people heading to 'The East.' We traveled through 11 Asian countries and nearly lost our lives, first in an earthquake in northern Afghanistan and then in a riot in Kabul."

Following an illness she contracted in Katmandu, Osborne returned home to the U.S. trying her hand at a vast variety of jobs: window dresser, medical assistant, Russian travel consultant, waitress, bartender, and an assistant editor at a children's magazine. Although Osborne had unconsciously moved closer toward her ultimate career, she says that her first attempts at writing seemed to come without warning. "One day, out of the blue, I began writing a story about an 11-year-old girl in the South," she recalls. "The girl was a lot like me, and many of the incidents in the story were similar to happenings in my became a young adult novel called Run, Run Fast as You Can. Finally, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up."

She sure did! Since then, Osborne has penned a slew of stories, including picture books, chapter books, middle-grade biographies, and young adult novels; but she is indisputably best known for her wonderful Magic Tree House books, a happy hodge-podge of history and mystery with a time travel theme kids find irresistible. No doubt inspired by Osborne's own highly adventurous life, these exiting expeditions have attracted droves of children and pleased educators by combining compulsively readable storytelling with useful facts about geography and history.

As was written of the series in Children's Literature, "Mary Pope Osborne provides nicely paced excitement for young readers, and there's just enough information mixed in so that children will take away some historical fact along with a sense of accomplishment at having completed a chapter book." As much as Osborne has certainly pleased her readers (not to mention their parents and teachers), perhaps no one is quite as pleased as she. "I'm one of those very lucky people who absolutely loves what they do for a living," she explained. "There is no career better suited to my eccentricities, strengths, and passions than that of a children's book author."

Good To Know

A few fascinating outtakes from our interview with Osborne:

"One of the most defining experiences of my life was traveling overland in an old van through the Middle East and Asia in the early 1970's. One day, when a small group of us were camped in a remote part of northern Afghanistan, we saw a woman riding horseback over the sloping plain. Her long brown hair floated on the wind and she wore a bright gypsy-style dress. When she got closer, I realized she was one of my roommates from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill! Though I didn't even know she'd left the U.S.—and she didn't know I was in Afghanistan, we weren't that surprised to come upon each other. That says a lot about the times we were living in then."

"After 26 years of living in New York City, my husband Will and I now spend most of our time in Northwestern Connecticut, living in a house that overlooks a lake. We kayak and hike with our two Norfolk terriers, Joey and Mr. Bezo. Will's learning Italian, and I've been working with a tutor for two years trying to understand Dante's Divine Comedy. One of my biggest hobbies is reading philosophy and theology. We spend lots of time, of course, on our work. After writing three shows for the Morehead Planetarium in North Carolina, Will's writing a musical based on the Magic Tree House series. I'm writing book # 38 in the series. I also spend a lot of time with my sister Natalie Pope Boyce who works on the Magic Tree House Research Guides. Natalie and our nephews and some of our best friends live nearby in the Berkshires Hills of Massachusetts, so we're up there a lot, too. My only complaint is there is not enough time to do all I want to do. For instance, I'd love to take drawing classes and I'd love to paint the lake we're living on. And I'd love to bird watch and become a better cook and learn about classical music. Maybe sometime in the future...."

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    1. Hometown:
      Goshen, Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 20, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Fort Sill, Oklahoma
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of North Carolina
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2007

    I love this book.

    This is a book that I adore because the pictures have so much detail and color. Plus the way the author told each story and all people that are greek or not can relate to each myth in the book. There are points in the book that make it really interesting. Most of the pictures have bright colors . I like the way each story yet all the stories stick to the name of the tittle. I love the book and thats why.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2014

    This book is accurate, but DON'T BUY THIS BOOK! Now there is a c

    This book is accurate, but DON'T BUY THIS BOOK! Now there is a couple reasons for this. First off is that they use the roman names for the Greek god's names, and second is that when you call it off as "Greek Myths", they have to be 100% Greek names! DON'T BUY THIS! DON'T!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    Great for Kid's Who Love Mythology

    My daughter read The Lightning Thief and became interested in mythological characters so we went on a search to find a children's book about the subject. This book is what we found. She read all the Magic Tree House books so she was familiar with Mary Pope Osborne. She loved this book and reads it over and over.

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