Rockwell's ( Our Yard Is Full of Birds ; What We Like ) engaging roundup of 15 tales from Greek mythology opens with a concise introduction to the key residents of Mount Olympus. Subsequent entries range from very familiar myths (of Daedalus's doomed flight; Pandora's ill-starred curiosity; Orpheus's unrequited love for the lost Eurydice) to those featuring less renowned gods and goddesses. Less playful than Marcia Williams's Greek Myths for Young Children , Rockwell's narrative is at once authoritative and informal. The author does an admirable job of condensing the occasionally intricate myths, and brings each to a tidy conclusion. Still, the stories are of varying length and complexity, and some may be beyond the reach of those at the younger end of the intended audience. Using serigraphs painted with watercolors, Rockwell has created graceful, effectively luminescent illustrations. Her stylized lines loosely evoke classical art, while her storytelling sensibility is squarely up to date. Ages 5-up. (May)
- Deborah Zink Roffino
The Robber Baby, lead tale in this marvelous collection, was the mischievous messenger of the gods, Hermes. Credited with inventing the alphabet, musical instruments and notes, Hermes adventures are rewritten here with verve and humor. Fifteen such myths are retold here, peppered with stylized art, in easy to read language. A bonus pronunciation guide is included.
- Judy Silverman
In addition to retelling fifteen classic tales, Anne Rockwell also provides an introduction to the gods, their roles and their relationships to each other. The bold watercolor art complements the contemporary language of this charming and witty retelling. An author's note and pronunciation guide round out the book.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-The D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths (Doubleday, 1980) has long reigned as the standard collection for children. Rockwell's volume doesn't compete with it in scope, but the relatively fewer stories in it are appealingly and accurately retold. Rockwell's colorful, flat, schematic illustrations are an interesting blend of the archaic, the modern, and the cute. Although the book seems designed for a young audience, the harsher aspects of the myths are not deleted. Eurydice, Actaeon, and Icarus's deaths; Hera's cruelty; Aphrodite's faithlessness; and the disturbing birth of Pan are all described, as are the stories of Echo, Midas, Dionysus, Hermes, Bellerophon, Demeter, Atalanta, and Pandora. Although this is much the same ground covered by Marcia Williams's Greek Myths for Young Children (Candlewick, 1992) and Geraldine McCaughrean's Greek Myths (McElderry, 1993), Williams's terse and witty versions and McCaughrean's romantic ones, besides aiming for a slightly younger and slightly older audience respectively, both put a ``spin'' on the stories absent from Rockwell's straightforward narratives. A pronunciation guide, reading list, and overview of the gods are included.-Patricia Dooley, formerly at University of Washington, Seattle
Rockwell retells 15 familiar tales from Greek mythology, including the ones about Demeter and Persephone, Daedalus and Icarus, Atalanta and the three golden apples, Pandora's box, and King Midas' wish. In an appended author's note, Rockwell lists her sources for the stories as well as her inspirations for the illustrations. The spacious format includes large pages, generous margins, fairly large type, and many four-color illustrations with patterned borders. Stylistically, the pictures have overtones of ancient Greek art but are much more childlike, rounded, and full. Respecting the original tales, yet finding ways of expressing them for younger children, Rockwell has written a dependable source of Greek myths in a format suitable for the early elementary grades.