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4.9 out of 5 stars
D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths
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on November 30, 2000
When I was in elementary school I found this book at the library. I loved it so much that I did not want to return it. Finally, after several months of renewals, my parents bought the paperback version for me. It was one of my most treasured--and worn out--books that I owned.
What made me fall in love the book was the beautiful, large colorful pictures; the easy introduction of the many Greek gods (to a child with no background in the stories); and, of course, the myths themselves. They were wonderful stories and will pull in readers of all ages.
The book inspired me to read more books on Greek mythology--Edith Hamilton, for instance--and Norse myths (the D'Aularies wrote a book on Norse gods that is unfortunately still out of print) and Asian folktakes when I was still in grade school. In college, however, I learned that the myths in this book had gone through a bit of sanitization, but the book is still terrific. I haven't found another children's book that treats Greek mythology so entertainingly and with such colorful, rich, and engaging pictures.
This book is one that will keep giving even when the child becomes an adult. When I went to college and was assigned other Greek and Roman poems, plays, and literature, I would be reminded the pictures and the myths found in this book. It would bring back wonderful memories, and in turn, made reading ancient literature enjoyable rather than onerous. To this day, I still remember all of the myths and gods that are in this book, and it (oddly) adds warm memories to my academic reading!
My parents recently bought the hardcopy edition of the book for me for Christmas. It was the best gift I have received in years!
It is simply a wonderful book!
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on November 10, 2000
I think this book introduced me to the idea of studying. When I was young, I devoured this. I knew every story, every character, and every adventure. This was the foundation for more book reports and special projects than I could list. The myths are presented in an easily understandable format that does not talk down to children. The illustrations, while simple, are full of life and charm. This is a perfect children's book.
"D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths" also gave me a great insight into a more adult world, and a curiosity, which I still carry to this day. Astronomy was no problem, as I already knew the names of things. Science also held fewer mysteries than it might have. (Hippocratic oath anyone?) My interest in Greek Myths lead to interest in Rome, which was followed by Shakespeare's Roman plays. Greek statuary lead to an interest in art, and a trip to the British Museum. Someday I hope to travel to Greece itself, and view the stomping grounds of Heracles and Belpheron.
All starting from this book. I think that is a pretty good recommendation.
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on September 27, 2000
The first time I read this book was in my elementary school library when I was nine. I checked out the book again and again until my mother took notice of my monopolization and bought me a copy of my own. It was an eye-opening experience for me as a young girl, being aware that there were other religions besides Christianity, and those that had existed long before. This book became a particular bonding instrument for my mother and I. My obsession with this book sparked her interest and now she has my old copy that is scribbled full of her notes. It is a great, simplistic introduction to Greek mythology and something that I still refer to when I need a quick refresher about a certain god, hero or myth. I attribute this book for instilling in me the love of reading, history and world religions and for narrowing my focus on what I wanted to study once I went to college. It also gave me a much more humanistic perspective in viewing religion, a concept that had only been really an abastraction for me up to that point. I encourage anyone to give this gift to any young person who loves to read. The illustrations are charming and aid the entertaining narrative so as a whole it is very easy for a child to absorb and comprehend. This book should not be overlooked. It could change your life too!
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on June 29, 2000
My mom got a copy of this book for the family when I was 6 or 7 and I read it so much that the pages fell out. I memorized the myths and told them to my friends. This books started a life-long love of mythology--okay, so I'm only 23--still, I adore the human foibles of the gods, and I LOVE the illutstrations. They have ingrained in me the way I see the Greek Gods and inspired me to take a trip to Athens and the rest of Greece. As I stood at Leto's rock in Delfi, tears came to my eyes. I realized that I was where she had given baby Apollo the mission to take it as his own temple, and the majesty and history of the place nearly overcame me. My mom got me a copy of this for my 21st birthday, and it was the best present I had gotten (and have gotten) in a long time.
If you like Greek myths, you will love this book. If you just like stories, you will love this book.
The only inaccuracy is that to make the stories age-appropriate, many of Zeus' "adventures" are somewhat censored, but not in a major way.
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on June 22, 1998
Ingri and Edgar D'Aulaire were among the first authors to present children's biographies in a shorter, fully illustrated format accessible to younger readers. They received the Caldecott Medal for their biography of Abraham Lincoln and also wrote and illustrated the histories of other famous Americans. But their most notable work may be this excellent collection of Greek myths, first published in 1962, and still a respected standard today. The entire world of the Greek gods is laid out in an orderly fashion, from the oldest stories of Mother Earth and the Titans to Zeus and his family, and on to the minor gods and the mortal descendants of Zeus. All the stories are here, including Pandora's box, King Midas, Oedipus, Jason and the Golden Fleece, and the transition from Greek gods to Roman ones. Illustrations enhance almost every page, many in color, some in black and white, and some in black on tan, which lends an ancient air. The stories themselves are simply written, with the text set off by wide borders of white space. A thorough index is appended, defining each god or goddess as well as locating their stories within the collection. From Achilles to Zeus, a book to savor and save for future generations.
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on July 26, 1997
I don't know about all of you, but Greek Mythology is something I just can't live without! I pondered long and hard over many other volumes that were of the same material, but VERY longwinded. I don't have a lot of time on my hands, but I was just dying to learn of the famous Zues, Hera, Aphrodite, Ares, Athena, and all of the other gods and goddesses who governed the world high atop Mount Olympus. Also of Cronus, Rhea, Gaea, Uranus, and other gods and goddesses I never knew about. Then I found this book, this treasure amongst literature. The artwork alone is enthralling and the detail in which the stories are told is absolutly mesmerizing. The book is one of the best and one would certainly advise a friend to read it if one is streched for time yet has an incredible lust for Greek Mythology. The stories are easy to understand and yet so graphical that even the simplest child could lose themselves in the stories of Eos, Hercules, or Heracles as he is called in the book, Persephone, Demeter, and Phaethon. If you love Greek Myths, this book is an absolute must
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on May 12, 2002
This book has been in print for at least 40 years. It was my introduction to Greek mythology when I was in elementary school in the early 60s. Now, a very educated middle aged man who has read Homer, Hesiod, Ovid, the Athenian playwrights, and all the great literature based on the mythology, I can tell you that 75% of my basic knowledge of these myths still comes from my devouring, re-reading, absorbing D'Aulaire in what can only be called a child's fantasy paradise. I have no children, but if I did and could gift them as I was gifted, I would count myself a successful parent if I did nothing more than introduce them to this book. The gorgeous illustrations are still burned in my memory. How any team of writers could depict Kronos devouring his children, Arachne being transformed into a spider, and so forth, and not make it frightening to a small child--well, this book is a miracle. Check it out and may your family cherish it.
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on May 21, 1998
I checked this book out of the library for my sons (age 3 and 5) and they got mad when I had to return it (late, and very much worse from wear) So I bought it. The text is so even keeled, and the characters so honestly and fairly treated, that it is really hard to find anything at fault. The pictures are engaging, and even my 3 year old retains much of the basic stories. They seem to like the heros and the trickery. I like the fairness in the genders. Men and Women have strengths and weaknesses and all are addressed, but none of it is gender biased. The morals in the tales are subtle, but would be obvious to an older child. As an adult, it is a wonderful refresher course on the origins of the english language. In a time where heros and role models are largely lacking in many kids lives, this book fufills in a wonderful way, that need. Every child should have a copy of this book. It has it all.
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on January 7, 2002
I am so glad that I found this book again. I owned it as a child and over the years it was misplaced. This book has to be if not the best then one of the best books of classical mythology for children. It is also an excellent primer for adults who want a solid overview of Greek mythology. It begins with the Greek myth of Creation and tells all of the better known stories of Greek myth. The stories, though at times complex, are easy to follow even for a child. Also, the illustrations are absolutely wonderful and vivid. This book was a great help with several elementary and high school projects. Now in college, I have run across others who also remember this book fondly as 'the big yellow book ' that they had as a child. I believe it should be an essential part of any child's library, and also makes a great resource for any adult interested in Greek mythology.
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on July 1, 2001
We recently received our D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. Needless to say, the illustrations are stunning.
The content is a bit "deep" for a young child. I was hoping for an easy introduction to Greek Myths for a 7yo. While interesting and VERY educational, this is pretty in depth. That is a good thing, in that we will be using this book for many years to come! I know that I certainly learned much I had forgotten or didn't know!
Will make a wonderful reference book for the older child. It builds on each chapter, branching out with more in depth information so you will learn where each Greek character fits into the whole scheme.
This is an excellent book, not my favorite D'Aulaire book however. It is, after all, a D'Aulaire.. you can't go wrong!
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