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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Review: Greek Myths - Stories of Sun, Stone and Sea

I’ve always found the stories of ancient mythologies fascinating, especially Greek and Roman mythology. So many stories of adventure and bravery as well as lessons on the power of love, honesty and honour and the price of vanity, pride and greed.

Greek Myths: Stories of Sun, Stone and Sea shares ten stories from Greek mythology with young readers, introducing them to the gods, goddesses, heroes and troublemakers that feature in many of the tales of this ancient culture.

Author Sally Pomme Clayton offers her interpretation of ten significant stories including the rise (and fall) of the Titans and the appearance of the gods and goddesses of Olympus. We meet Pandora and her clay pot of gifts, witness the battle between Athena and Poseidon for possession of the city of Athens and travel with Perseus as he meets the snake-headed gorgon Medusa. We also meet Arachne, Midas, Pegasus, Pan, Orpheus and Atalanta.

These ten stories are an opportunity to sample the stories of Greek mythologies. Enjoyable simply as stories of adventure and bravery, they can also spark discussions about character traits such as pride, honour, humility, loyalty, greed and arrogance.

Each story concludes with a brief note from the author, explaining the modern landscape feature linked to the story or some interesting fact about a character or message related to the story. There is also an index of Gods and Heroes mentioned throughout the book. I love the illustrations by Jane Ray, especially the image of Pegasus standing by the Horse’s Fountain (Hippokrene) on Mount Helicon.

Written to be read aloud, Greek Myths: Stories of Sun, Stone and Sea is ideal for parents to read with children, offering a great sample of the stories of Greek mythology celebrating an age of adventure and heroism. Parents should keep in mind that sensitive younger readers may find some of the images (such as the tusked, red-eyed full page illustration of Medusa) and some of the elements of the stories (such as the number of children abandoned, or in the case of the Titan Kronos eaten, by parents) a little frightening.

Title: Greek Myths - Stories of Sun, Stone and Sea
Author: Sally Pomme Clayton
Illustrator: Jane Ray
Publisher: Frances Lincoln, $32.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 January 2013
Format: Hardcover with dust jacket
ISBN: 9781847802279
For ages: 5 - 11
Type: Picture book for older readers

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