Treasury of Greek Mythology
Treasury of Greek Mythology
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Donna Jo Napoli, illus. by Christina Balit
ISBN 9781426308444
National Geographic, 2011.
4 ½ stars
Keywords: culture donna-jo-napoli greek-mythology retellings treasury-greek-mythology

Treasury of Greek Mythology
by Donna Jo Napoli, illus. by Christina Balit

Donna Jo Napoli (The Magic Circle) has proven time and again her empathy for "supporting characters." Here she examines both the leading players from ancient Greece as well as lesser-known figures such as Selene, goddess of the Moon, and Hestia, goddess of the Hearth.

In 25 brief two- to four-page chapters, Napoli focuses on major events from the lives of gods or mortals, such as Helen of Troy (in a chapter wittily titled "The Lethal Beauty"). Each builds on previous events and opens with a sumptuous two-page full-color portrait, such as one of Gaia, Mother Earth, in a dress of leaves and tendrils, and Zeus gripping his signature thunderbolt. Her lyrical narrative lends these figures human qualities (of Uranus she writes, "His fear became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Cruelty is the snake that bites its own tail"). This is a book kids can dip in and out of, but will be most enjoyed cover to cover.

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

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