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Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters Hardcover – October 11, 2011
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About the Author
CHRISTINA BALIT is a graduate of the Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art, London. An award-winning dramatist and illustrator, Christina has painted more than 20 children's books, including Blodin and the Beast by Michael Morpurgo, Zoo in the Sky, The Planet Gods, The Lion Bible, National Geographic's Treasury of Greek Mythology, and National Geographic's Treasury Egyptian Mythology. Her author titles include Escape From Pompeii, Atlantis, The Legend of the Lost City, and An Arabian Home. Her plays include Woman With Upturned Skirt, The Sentence, and Needle (winner of the Brave New Role award).
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The problem with the book is that the unit of interest isn’t the myth, i.e. not the story, but rather the mythical figure, the various gods and heroes of ancient Greece. Because of this organization, some of the chapters have a tight and memorable story, such as that of Heracles and his 12 labors, while others are just piles of genealogical facts mixed with odd mythical happenings (e.g. who burst from whose forehead) and tossed with that mythical figure’s bit parts in larger myths. The book is a good, solid reference book for schoolkids doing research on Greek Mythology, but much of it’s not very engaging to read.
The graphics are beautiful and colorful, if a bit artsy (not always instantaneously clear in subject.) There are maps, a timeline describing happenings of ancient Greece -- real and mythical, a bibliography, and a quick guide to the characters that would make more sense if the book wasn’t a collection of relatively brief biographical sketches to begin with (but repetition has its merits, particularly for children.)
If you’re looking for a collection of biographies of mythical Greeks (i.e. a reference for children,) then this is a good book for you. If you’re looking to get your kids intrigued by the Greek myths, then you might want to shop around. Put another way, if you’re looking for a version of what Neil Gaiman did with this “Norse Mythology,” only for the Greeks, this isn’t it.
The book made in the way that will be interesting for both a child and an adult.
Stories are pretty short (2 pages with small illustrations for each character) what makes it easy to read without losing attention.
I bought also the Egyptian and Norse mythology and will definitely buy the Tales from the Arabian Night too.
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