by Shahrukh Husain, Bee (ILT) Willey

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
A "starter set" of Greek myths are presented in this title. Each story is accompanied by a short synopsis that highlights its theme; sidebars provide additional explanations. Eye-catching paintings enliven the prosaic, but functional prose. One of the illustrations, however, is a family tree that confuses instead of clarifies, and includes individuals that are not mentioned within the narrative. Children will benefit from having an adult read and explain the stories, which are sometimes convoluted. An introduction provides useful background information; the glossary and index are welcome additions. In short, this book tries to be as accessible as possible, but it is not consistently comprehensible. This title is part of "Stories From Ancient Civilizations" series. 2005, Smart Apple Media, Ages 7 to 10.
—Ellen R. Butts
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Well laid out and colorful, these books offer eight or nine mostly double-page tales. The selections seem to have been arbitrarily chosen, except for the creation stories, and the text does not always flow smoothly from one to the other, underlining the difficulty of simplifying myths for younger children. The introduction for each story (set off in larger type) and the boxed information add little and occasionally distract. Sorely missed are maps with salient spots marked (e.g., Egypt refers to the ancient cities of Heliopolis and Hermopolis but there is no indication of where they were), and pronunciation guides for the names of the gods. Illustrations are brightly colored and pleasing, but sometimes fail to picture the important parts of the stories. For instance, when Poseidon and Athena are contesting for the loyalty of the Athenians, only Poseidon is shown, even though Athena wins. Quibbles aside, if libraries need easy, attractive material on myths, these titles deserve consideration. Aliki's Gods and Goddesses of Olympus (HarperCollins, 1994) and Leonard Everett Fisher's Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt (Holiday House, 1997) are excellent, but there is little else. The better option is to let children wait until upper elementary school when they are better able to appreciate the stories' subtleties, couched in richer language.-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Black Rabbit Books
Publication date:
Stories from Ancient Civilizations Series
Product dimensions:
8.48(w) x 10.78(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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