Well, I’m all brushed up on my Greek heroes, Gods, and Goddesses thanks to this lovely little book by Lancelyn Green.
I mentioned in an earlier post that my husband had picked this up in the adolescent lit section. One of the things that I think caught his eye, besides Medusa’s purple head on the cover, was the fact that Rick Riordan wrote the introduction. If you got a niggling feeling that you know that name, you probably do. At least, you do if you have kids. Rick Riordan writes a lot of adolescent lit. Namely the Percy Jackson series, which now has a couple of movies to its name. He has a newer series out called The Heroes of Olympus too. Riordan has helped a new generation become interested in these classic tales, so it is appropriate that he write the introduction for a book about them.
This is a great choice for kids, depending on their reading level. I imagine 4th grade and up could easily enjoy this book, along with adults who want an easy and quick reminder. It covers the important stories, Zeus and the Titans, Prometheus, Heracles (Hercules), and many others. Another great thing about this edition is that each chapter opens with an excerpt from an original, or classic telling of these stories, or a play or poem from literature.
For example, an excerpt from Shakespeare’s, The Merchant of Venice, begins chapter 12, The Wanderings of Heracles:
…Now he goes
With no less presence, but with much more love,
Than young Alcides when he did redeem
The virgin tribute paid by howling Troy
To the sea monster…Go, Hercules!
Live thou, I live: – with much, much more dismay
I view the fight than thou that makest the fray!
I love the thought that kids could watch a movie, want to read more about the stories it is based on, pick up this book and be learning, not only classic myths, but a bit of classic literature as well. They are being cultured without knowing it. Almost as good as sneaking pureed carrots into the spaghetti sauce, wouldn’t ya say?
Of course, that’s if they actually read those little excerpts and don’t just skip to the beginning of the chapter. Call me a cynic, but I taught 8th grade English. It is what it is…