Greek Myths, Western Style: Toga Tales with an Attitude


When Barbara McBride-Smith was first introduced to the ancient Greeks, she didn't quite hear right. When her teacher told her they lived in the cradle of western civilization, young Barbara thought she said Western civilization as in central Texas, around about Waco, where they seemed to fit right in.

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When Barbara McBride-Smith was first introduced to the ancient Greeks, she didn't quite hear right. When her teacher told her they lived in the cradle of western civilization, young Barbara thought she said Western civilization as in central Texas, around about Waco, where they seemed to fit right in.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Told with a Texas twist and loaded with humor, here are fourteen Greek myths as you've never heard them before. The gods live up on Mount Olympus and they were a wild bunch. Zeus was the big cheese, Athena was valedictorian of her class on Mount Olympus and leader of the Minor Minority, while Hades ruled over places where the "sun don't shine." Preserving the basic elements of the myths, the author, a storyteller, writes with a western twang, giving the tales a modern flare. Enthusiasts of Greek mythology should enjoy the pun-packed version. Theseus, the hero who conquered the Minotaur, is depicted as forgetful and a boy who has a few cogs without a matching ratchet. Baccus drank too much, Medussa was the original party girl, but now she couldn't draw flies at a picnic, while Odysseus and Achilles were a pair of draft dodgers. Daedalus tried building a ski lift to Olympus, used his mama's hair dryer on the passing chariots as a prototype of radar, and managed to invent winged sandals known as Nike Airs. These spicy salsa stories would be fun to read orally, but be wary¾some might be a little risqué for younger children. 1998, August House, $6.95. Ages 12 up. Reviewer: Laura Hummel
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Life in a mythological soap opera, the introduction to this lively set of yarns would have it, is not so different from life in-Waco, Texas? Yessiree! Names have been changed "to protect the guilty," but the characters are all familiar. There's Ol' Man Zeus, the Metheus brothers (you know, Pro and Epi), Pandora the debutante, draft dodgers Odysseus and Achilles, and many more of the old gang. Here are fourteen tales with a twist, to delight storytellers and audiences alike, and they don't do so badly to just plain read, either. McBride-Smith's collection lends a new meaning to the notion of Greece as the cradle of western civilization-could we have misunderstood which West they really meant?
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-McBride-Smith has retold 16 familiar Greek tales and given them a new twist-the characters are Texans. Welcome to a world in which Theseus is a boy who has "a few cogs without a matching ratchet," Demeter is a bitter woman with vengeance on her mind, Medea is a lusty woman who kills for love, Orpheus is a Garth Brooks kinda guy, Achilles and Odysseus are draft dodgers, and Bacchus is a drunken womanizer. The stories, while staying true to the facts of the originals, take on a whole new life. There is plenty of funny colloquial language and there are details to tickle the fancy of many young adults-naked beauty contests, wicked fights, name calling. On the negative side, the humor is full of stereotypical jabs (women are made to change toilet-paper rolls and arrange sock drawers), and most kids aren't going to get it, other than seeing it as a book poking fun at jocks, airhead girls, etc. It will take a sophisticated and dedicated mythology student to appreciate the humor here.-Angela J. Reynolds, West Slope Community Library, Portland, OR Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874836172
  • Publisher: August House Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 120
  • Age range: 10 - 18 Years
  • Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 0.43 (d)

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