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4.8 out of 5 stars
D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on September 20, 2010
Oversized with gorgeous and revealing illustrations, this amazing book will strike young children with awe about the mighty power of human imagination and - about Greek gods, goddesses both major and minor as well as the mortal descendants of Zeus. The masterfully retelling of Greek myths that flows in well-organized order brings to life such immortal tales of Persephone, Prometheus and the Nine Muses. I received formal training on Greek mythologies in college and though I loved these Olympian gods radiantly, it was not without pain just to figure who's whose son or daughter from Homer, Virgil and Ovid. Fortunately for my children (and I), we have D'AULAIRES' BOOK OF GREEK MYTHS that comes with helpful Zeus' family tree, index of gods' names and a constellations map. This is the definite volume on classical mythology that any family library cannot do without.
3 people found this helpful
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on April 8, 2003
I first read this book as a child---it was a favorite of my older siblings who recommended it. All four of us have bought copies as adults and we all keep these cherished copies nearby---so we can consult it often!

The book is a fantastic introduction to the Greek myths. The Daulaires write extremely well and they tell the stories in a simple and direct way. And...they tell almost ALL the stories. It's amazing! This book---which I read when I was abt 8---laid the perfect foundation for high school and college Latin as well as for my graduate classes (no joke! I was the only one in my graduate seminars who knew who Asclepius was, who knew the ins and outs of the Trojan wars etc.---all because of this book!).
The illustrations in the text are as fantastic as the writing (a rarity!). As a child, I loved the image of Aphrodite rising from the sea (and when I later discovered Botticelli's Venus, I thought "hmm...Botticelli must have been influenced by the Daulaires!"). Seriously, the illustrations are wonderful--my personal favorite---and the one which always comes to mind when someone mentions spring---is the one of Persephone being seized by Hades. It was frightening as a child and in the gloom of winter, I still find it disturbing to visualize it!
If you know of an 8 or 9 year old, buy this book immediately (whether it's their birthday or not!). And if you don't know of any 8 or 9 year olds, buy the book for yourself. You will not regret it---it is much better, more accessible and more of a pleasure to read than Edith Hamilton, Robert Graves etc.
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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 January 26, 2002
This book is oversized and has 192 pages. It is fairly comprehensive of the major and lesser figures in Greek mythology. It includes timeless stories about these beings. Because of the tremendous influence that Ancient Greek culture has had on western civilization, to this day, this volume is undoubtedly useful--a treasure.
I disagree with the comments on the art by other reviewers. Some of the art is truly wonderful, but other illustrations are not attractive. Generally, the simple line drawings and monochrome illustrations are far better than the full color illustrations, where the use of color sometimes assaults the eye (and sensibilities).
For an introduction to Ancient Greece and its mythology, I'd recommend something else (like Greek Gods and Goddesses....... For a children's reference book, this is the one to have.
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on March 17, 2004
A rare gem in the science fiction/fantasy genre, this series has a female heroine, Lyra. We follow Lyra throughout the series as she encounters intense mysteries and drama. Although this is a fantasy book series, it is superbly written and is excellent in making the reader become so engrossed that they nearly forget where they are.
I would use these books with high school, reluctant reader girls, since it's an excellent story about a girl who saves the world. They would learn from this book that girls are also craft, witty, and brilliant. Another group that I would recommend this series to are advanced high school readers as I believe these books have direct references to Paradise Lost and also make general remarks on religion. In fact by the final book, your idea of religion is completely obscured. I think it would be interesting for them to do a compare/contrast with Paradise lost of perhaps how the series develops a theme of religion.
9. D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths by Ingri D'Aulaires and Edgar Parin D'Aulaires
Copyright 1980, Bantam Doubleday Dell
Great book to build a reading unit around
One of the major things that was lacking in my education through college, was any sort of introduction to Greek Mythology. Although we seem to now steer clear of any kind of old literature ("dead white men"), I believe Greek Mythology is an important part of a person's reading repertoire. There have been many situations (not to mention Jeopardy questions) where I'm at a complete loss because I never learned Greek Mythology. My friend recently introduced me to this book, claiming his copy was so worn out from repetitive readings his parents provided him and his brothers. What an excellent find this book is!
I would use this book in the classroom and read these aloud to the students. I believe it would be a great idea to have a Greek Mythology unit where we use this book as our base reading, and have the kids explore other Greek Mythology books. I think children at first will think Greek Mythology is boring, yet they would soon find out that it is all around them. They could have a good time finding things in their neighborhoods that relate like street names, restaurant names, etc. and perhaps write some report on their findings.
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on April 11, 2002
I loved these books as I child; and now that I have children to purchase for, my literary regret is that I cannot get a copy of the Norse gods and goddesses! So I quickly bought up this book to save for when she is older. Do not be put off by any negative reviews about the artwork: good or bad it will forever imprint with the legends and provide another world to place the stories. Get a copy for your child, even if it's just a newbie, because it may go out of print and you will have to settle for second best to introduce your child to the beauty of greek mythology; some of those alternative books are too dry to plant imagination seeds.
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on December 7, 2003
But the text is lacking. I found it dry and facile at times. There were few explanations for why the gods would hate each other so much, other than the idea that they had to control the earth or the land in some way. This sets the basis for hierarchical systems of thought found in modern-day Greek society, long before the domination of the female gender took full force (around that time there was still a fair amount of female influence, archeological sources tell us) and ideates that we all need to look forward to future wars as a way of life.
This is a nice, large volume, though. You'll like the drawings.
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on January 7, 2004
I still have my copy of this book from my early childhood. It's a wonderful introduction to Greek mythology for the younger age groups. It doesn't go into tedious detail that most children would find boring, but it covers important highlights of major myths. It is a very whitewashed version of the mythos -- especially the story of Hera and Zeus, but since it's geared towards younger reader, that's only appropriate.
This book is a great way to get children interested in the classics, in mythology itself. Highly recommended.
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on September 12, 2003
This is one of the first books of Greek mythology I read. Reading other reviews I do have to agree that some material was poorly researched...or maybe it wasn't. I think some of the tales might have been changed to grab the attention of the focus audience which is children. The pictures are ever present through the pages, while not cutting corners on words or information. Some pictures even assist in understanding the tales. One picture in particular shows the geneology of the gods in a sort of tree like design. Fun book. I recommend it.
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on March 10, 2003
I first read this book when I was twelve years old and it affected me so much that ten years later I still have a deep and abiding love of Greek mythology. A ratty, paperback copy I found at Salvation Army still holds *the* place of honor in my Greco-Roman collection, usurping The Odyssey, The Iliad, Edith Hamilton, and Robert Graves.
What originally struck me as so fantastic (and still does) is that the D'aulaires don't write down to their audience or edit out details important to the original myth that some parents might not approve of. The end result? An all ages storybook and mythological primer that no one should be ashamed to own.
The drawings are an acquired taste, falling somewhere between Classical pottery paintings and Art Deco, but they do grow on you. My only quibble is that there's no pronunciation guide, which can really hamper you if this is your first exposure to these stories.
Buy this for for your children or even for yourself, you will never regret it.
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