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Ancient Gods and Goddesses

The Greek myths continue to intrigue and inspire readers and writers and even filmmakers. Names from mythology have crept into the English language. Novelists continue or retell the stories. Younger children appreciate the spirit of the Greek myths — perhaps because they reveal universal truths. But above all, Greek myths are good stories with strong characters. Read about them here — but remember, the ancient Greeks were a hearty people — and so their myths are not for the faint of heart!
Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

Black Ships Before Troy: The Story of The Iliad

By: Rosemary Sutcliffe
Illustrated by: Alan Lee
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The essence of Homer's Iliad is captured by Sutcliff's rich language combined with dramatic watercolor illustrations. The same team also presents Homer’s other well known epic tale in The Wanderings of Odysseus: The Story of the Odyssey. These retellings present the entire stories that involve the gods and goddesses and their impact on humans. They are fast-paced, sometimes grisly tales that together make fine stories for more sophisticated readers.

D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths

By: Ingri Parin d'Aulaire, Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This richly illustrated, clearly presented look at Greek mythology begins with the first children of Mother Earth, the Titans, to the end of the Greek gods and goddesses’ reign. Similarly, this husband/wife duo introduces younger readers to the mythology of the north in D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths.

It's All Greek to Me

By: Jon Scieszka
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In this installment of friends known as the Time Warp Trio, Joe, Fred, and Sam meet key figures from ancient Greek mythology when they’re transported back to Mount Olympus. It all started during a school play about ancient Greece…

Max and Ruby in Pandora's Box

By: Rosemary Wells
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

When Max invades his sister's private space, Ruby tells him the story of what happened long ago to another too-curious character named Pandora. Wells' retelling and humorous illustrations make the ancient Greek myth a timely tale for contemporary readers.

Pandora

By: Robert Burleigh
Illustrated by: Raul Colon
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Elegant illustrations decorate this free verse retelling of the young woman whose curiosity about the contents of a forbidden jar brought trouble into the world. A large format and limited text make this sophisticated telling more accessible.

The Beautiful Stories of Life: Six Greeks Myths, Retold

By: Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by: Carson Ellis
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Why there are seasons, how trouble came into the world, and more stories about nature and human beings are eloquently retold through the stories of Pandora, Persephone, Orpheus, Pygmalion, Narcissus, and Psyche. Delicate illustrations and rich language make these myths — and the characterization of the Greek gods and goddesses — just right to read aloud to sophisticated listeners.

The Chocolate Touch

By: Patrick Skene Catling
Illustrated by: Margot Apple
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Just like the golden touch of King Midas of the old Greek myth, young John Midas' greed about candy turns sweet into bitter when he magically gains the ability to turn everything he touches into chocolate. This very funny take on an old tale is a classic in its own right and makes clear the Midas moral.

The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus

By: Aliki
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Brief retellings of Greek myths and a brief introduction to the gods and goddesses are presented in this thin, attractive volume. Though not as comprehensive as the d'Aulaires book, this is a useful beginning point.

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Maria Salvadore
Maria Salvadore
July 10, 2014
June 24, 2014
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