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
Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 11 up.
School Library JournalGr 5-8Three useful, well-written, and attractive titles about ancient cultures. Good-quality, full-color photographs and drawings depict artifacts, monuments, and domestic or historical scenes, thus providing information as well as enhancing the books. Marston offers a clear explanation of the rise and demise of the Egyptian dynasties and of the culture's complex religious beliefs. Schomp provides a succinct look at the history of ancient Greece and the importance of its pantheon of gods and goddesses. The inclusion of quotes from period literature and stories in these titles gives further insight into these two civilizations. Stein examines the Aztecs' history, beliefs, and life styles. An added source of interest is a chapter revealing the influences of this ancient culture on contemporary Mexico and the discoveries of the ancient ruins of Tenochtitlan in Mexico City. Lois Warburton's Aztec Civilization (Lucent, 1995) is equally useful but dry and bland in comparison.Cynthia M. Sturgis, Ledding Library, Milwaukee, OR
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