Mythological Monsters of Ancient Greece

Mythological Monsters of Ancient Greece

by Sara Fanelli

Meet Medusa, the Minotaur, and eleven more mythological monsters
of ancient Greece - artfully portrayed in striking collages, followed by a
glossary of fun facts.

What three-headed dog guards the gates to the underworld? Whose 100
eyes ended up on the tail of the peacock? Who turns into stone all who look upon her? With a minimum of text


Meet Medusa, the Minotaur, and eleven more mythological monsters
of ancient Greece - artfully portrayed in striking collages, followed by a
glossary of fun facts.

What three-headed dog guards the gates to the underworld? Whose 100
eyes ended up on the tail of the peacock? Who turns into stone all who look upon her? With a minimum of text and a maximum of collage and arresting graphic design, Sara Fanelli lures the fantastical monsters of ancient Greece out of their lairs and lets them show off their power to fascinate. The spare, hand-lettered text will suit even reluctant readers, while a detailed glossary awaits those who are eager to know more monstrous facts.

Here you will find (if you dare!):

100-eyed Argus

one-eyed Cyclops

nine-headed Hydra

Cerberus, the three-headed watchdog

Medusa the Gorgon

Minotaur, half man, half bull

Siren, half woman, half vulture

Sphinx, half woman, half winged lion

Centaur, half man, half horse

Harpies, greedy women with birds’ heads

sea monster Scylla

fire-breathing Chimaera

Echidna and her monstrous children

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
In wild hand-lettered collages that defy academic treatments of myth, Fanelli (Dear Diary) summarizes some famous monsters of the Greek pantheon. Her portraits of weird creatures range from the comical to the grotesque, and recall the visceral imagery of Hendrik Drescher. On the imposing dust jacket and in the first spread, hundred-eyed Argus roars like a lion, but wry humor softens his threat; doodled spectacles litter the ground at his feet ("After his death, the goddess Hera put his eyes onto the tail feathers of the peacock"). Argus isn't the only one with creepy peepers. All 14 members of this sinister menagerie gaze out at readers through black-and-white magazine clippings of human eyes, which lend an uncanny appearance to Oedipus's Sphinx ("not the same as the Egyptian Sphinx") and Medusa (pictured with a scary, furry visage). Six-headed Scylla waves forks and knives as she dines upon sailors, the nine-headed Hydra squares off against Heracles ("He buried her immortal head under a huge rock") and a Satyr raises two martini glasses while "having a grand old time." Similar in approach to John Harris and Calef Brown's Greece! Rome! Monsters! (Children's Forecasts, Oct. 7), Fanelli's volume, with its rough-hewn paint-and-collage style, leaves little room for storytelling. On the spread featuring the Minotaur, for instance, the author pictures Icarus and notes that Daedalus designed the Labyrinth, but does not explain their association (father-son). Readers who know basic mythology will make the most of this visual summary. Ages 7-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-In this amusing compendium of creatures from Greek mythology, Fanelli introduces 14 different monsters, though "monster" hardly seems the word to describe Pegasus or a centaur such as Chiron. Certainly the rest of the featured creatures-Harpies, Medusa, Cyclops, and the like-easily fit the description. Using collage and drawing, Fanelli fills her pictures with clever, humorous touches such as eyes cut from black-and-white photographs that appear in virtually every illustration. The pictures, in an autumn palette full of orange, red, deep yellow, and brown, lend a sophisticated, postmodern look to the book. The artist cleverly depicts each creature in her own idiosyncratic style, and, in hand-lettered text, supplies interesting snippets of information, focusing on what is unusual and distinct about each monster. A few more facts about each creature are given at the end of the book, but for readers unfamiliar with Greek mythology, the characters are out of context and their stories are often incomplete. More information is available in Bernard Evslin's Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths (Bantam, 1984) or Ingri and Edgar D'Aulaire's D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths (Doubleday, 1962). As an adjunct to those titles and for browsing, Mythological Monsters is lots of fun.-Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A picture-book catalogue of creatures of Greek myth is rendered in such a way that Phidippides would never recognize them. Fanelli (Dear Diary, 2000, etc.) offers up a smorgasbord of monsters, from Argus to the Sphinx, along with bare snippets of information about each one ("Pegasus carried Bellerophon in his battle with the fire-breathing Chimaera"). The art is mixed-media collage in a muted palette; it makes no attempt to create lifelike representations of its subjects, presenting instead spike-nosed cut-paper ovals atop variously shaped bodies. The figures are unlovely to begin with, and become downright unsettling when one realizes that cut-out photographs of human eyes are used for the creatures' eyes (this effect is particularly creepy on 100-eyed Argus). One might justifiably argue that creatures of myth have no basis in reality and therefore should not strive to achieve the realism of, say, ancient Greek statuary. The very distinctive depictions present a model of artistic engagement with story that rejects the conventional and embraces personal imagination. This offering is unlikely to spawn equally fantastical and creative imaginings on the part of its readers, however, as the monsters are presented to the child reader almost entirely without context--they occupy a sort of nightmare world devoid of the stories that would bring them to life. It is the rare member of the picture book audience that would have the necessary background in Greek mythology to allow her to understand and appreciate the artistic vision contained herein. One is left with just one word: Why? (Picture book/nonfiction. 3-7)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
11.00(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range:
7 Years

Meet the Author

Sara Fanelli is the author-illustrator of DEAR DIARY. She loves cakes and chocolate, maps, the moon, and her dog, Bubu. Of MYTHOLOGICAL MONSTERS OF ANCIENT GREECE, she says, "Once you know these monsters, you will be surprised how often you meet them in everyday life!"

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