on April 25, 2013
This book has been a constant source of delight and conversation to my
10 year old grand daughter since it arrived. She is an avid and fluent reader
and likes to curl up with the book by herself, but younger children might need
to have it read to them. The stories are beautifully told and the illustrations
are clear and unambiguous as well as pleasing in their interpretation of the
verbal imagery. I am more than pleased and happy to recommend this book as a gift
to any family who cares that their children's education includes the basics
of classical mythology which underpins so much of the literature they will
encounter later on. Already, my grand daughter is making the connections
between the stories and references in modern English that are still in use, such
as "Pandora's Box" and being "as rich as Croesus" - to name just a couple.
I cannot recommend this book enough as an introduction to a world of terrific stories,
as well as enriching so many aspects of the child's understanding of her own culture.
This is a fantastic book that I loved reading as a child, and now get the chance to introduce it to my children. It is written perfectly for young children, and the stories are a good mix of happy and sad, love and violence. I would quibble that some of these stories are a little biased by the D'Aulaire's interpretations, but they are generally quite good. The stories are written in language easy enough for most 8-12 year olds (and precocious 6-8's), and the illustrations are gorgeous and unique. Certainly for introducing young children to Greek Mythology, it would be hard to find a better book.
If you read this book and liked it, I'd also recommend the D'Aulaires Book of Norse Mythology. The Norse pantheon are just as interesting, somewhat similar, but also very different, from the Greek pantheon. Both books make great reading for children and make learning about classic beliefs fun and interesting.
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.
on October 2, 2003
I received this book when I was 8 years old and it started my great love and appreciation for Greek Mythology.
One of the greatest features of this book is its wonderful organization. It begins at the beginning (Gaia and Uranus), chronicles the Titans, the major Olympian gods, "minor" gods, and heroes. The stories flow chronologically and the authors make many references back to earlier sections without any confusion.
The stories are told at a beginner level but without a feeling that a lot is missing from them as can happen in Edith Hamilton's Mythology. The art is appealing and nervous parents will be pleased to know that the pictures are at an appropriate level for young people. Also som of the more risque sections are dealt with without omitting important information. In the story of Perseus, Zeus does the Golden shower of light transformation to appear in Danae's room and she becomes his bride. Cute isn't it?
Just knowing the information in this one book was enough to give me an edge over fellow college students and professors (yes professors) in ancient history and humanities classes. For some reason most of teh American public seems to get their informationon mythology from te film Clash of the Titans (a movie I guiltily enjoy by the way).
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.
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.
on September 26, 2003
I read this book so many times when I was child that it managed to burrow itself into my consciousness and left many images burned into my head: the lovely union between the earth and the sky, Haphaestus hammering out a link of precious metals, Persephone in the dark undertow of the underworld, Leda's beautiful face asleep as two eggs crack open to reveal her children, and other memorable pictures. Even though in the ensuing years I have forgotten about the book, I managed to carry them and periodically they would swim back into view if some memory triggered them. I bought the book in a fit of nostalgia when I stumbled upon this web page. I am so glad I bought it and am enjoying the book yet again. There is a shock of recognition - the strange sense that yes I have not thought of or looked at the book in ages and yet they were always there. The stories are generous and magnificent and instantly readable. Yes, it's not Ovid, but then again it's a children's book. But what a book! The drawings are glorious and full of my shimmering childhood memories: relentlessly checking out that one copy at the library and marveling at the stories and images. I heartily recommend parents everywhere to buy this book for their child. It's such a great impetus to a life long path of learning and reading. So put away those playstations and the tv, if you please. Much joy will be found in these pages. You won't regret it.
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.
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.
on February 25, 2001
The first time I read this book, I was about 7 years old. I LOVED the stories, the pictures the family trees-everything! I had to return the book, but I loved it so much, i looked for other books on the subject. Of the several that i found, none of them came close to matching this book! I checked it out repeatedly until i finshed it, and then i still checked it out rather often. That year, i found d'aulaires under the Christmas tree, and though it was a book, it was my favorite present that i received that year... just the other night, i went to sleep with the book and a flashlight in my hands. One of the reasons that this is such a wonderful book is that it allows myths to be introduced to children at a younger age. I read the book independently and was still able to take in the stories when i was six and seven the same i do now as a teenager. There was only a small amount of complex vocabulary, and the stories were...how can i say...appropriate for younger children? As most of us know, greek mythology is often involved with love affairs and childbirth and things that people might not want their children to be inolved with, but this book depicted the stories with the same quality as you would find anywhere, only more appropriate for younger children. Another wonderful thing about the book is that its comprised of chapters and seperate stories, and you can read one myth in 5 or ten minutes.For these reasons and many more, I HIGHLY reccomend this book to anyone of any age, ESPECIALLY children. Make that special little one in your life enjoy the joy and enrichment that i have from this book. If not buy it, at least reccomend it at your local library. I am positive that this iis a book that children will be able to treasure forever, and even share with their children. Dont waste your time on other books. This one is all you need!...