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Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 11 up.
This "Myths of the World" series offers middle school and teen readers a look at the mythology of several ancient cultures in an appealing format with beautiful and well-chosen color illustrations. Starting with an introduction to world mythology, each volume presents a section about one civilization that includes a lovely watercolor map of the territory and continues to a second part that narrates important myths from original sources. In this book, readers will learn something of ancient Greek life and meet the principal Olympian gods--Poseidon, Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Athena, Aphrodite, and Hermes. Author Schomp reshapes the stories adeptly, sometimes adopting an ancient voice ("The Greeks Speak"), as in the myths "Why the Gods Get the Bones" and "The Birth of Aphrodite." Readers will learn about flyers Daedalus and Icarus, illuminated by an eighteenth-century marble statue and a vivid seventeenth-century Italian painting. Other tales involve creator and fire-bringer Prometheus, Demeter, Persephone and Hades, and the hero story of Theseus and the Minotaur, while the final section touches on the Trojan War ("The Judgment of Paris" and "The Trojan Horse"). The myths are accompanied throughout by color photos of statues, reliefs, and fascinating painted vases, though modern works, while often striking, are unfortunately not always dated or attributed to their artists. Special features include a family tree of the Olympians, biographies of ancient Greek writers like Aeschylus, Diodorus Siculus, Hesiod, and Homer, and a list of books and websites that captivated readers can explore further. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft