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Children's LiteratureThe oversize format and the softly washed portrait of Alexander on the cover are appealing, inviting the reader to come inside and find out more. But inside there is disappointment, at least in this English translation from the original Greek. The full page illustrations seem wooden and lacking in feeling, despite their subject matter (battles and parades, love scenes and throne rooms) and they often do not match the text on the opposite page. Occasionally the text offers interesting stories, especially at the beginning when we learn about a legendary mermaid who springs out of the waters during great storms, seizing the first ship she encounters and asking if King Alexander is alive and well. More often, the text offers a recitation of battles, victories and losses on the route to building Alexander's empire. We learn that he likes to emulate the customs of the people he conquers but not much else about Alexander the person. Especially for non-Greeks, the geography of Alexander's conquests is hard to follow; there is a map at the back, but it does not include all of Alexander's travels and does not identify current countries as a reference point. Ultimately, it is not entirely clear who the intended audience is for this book—the large size and frequent illustrations suggest a picture book for younger children, but the text is above them and yet probably not compelling enough to hold the interest of upper elementary or middle school students. 2004, J Paul Getty Trust, Ages 10 up.