With this compendium of Greek myths, “Greek Mythology: The Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes Handbook (From APHRODITE to ZEUS, a Profile of Who’s Who in Greek Mythology)” Liv Albert presents an engaging and comprehensive book that provides information about both the well-known and some lesser-known Greek Gods and demigods and even just Greek royals. The language is very accessible. For example, each chapter begins with the heading “What’s Their Deal?” or “What’s His Deal?” The next part is “The Story You Need to Know” and then “Now You Know.”
But while the text is accessible, some of the content is not. My daughter will definitely have to modify some of it before she reads it to my grandson, who is fascinated by the Greek gods. For example, in the story of “Procne and Philomela: Two Sisters of the Royal House of Athens,” we learn that Procne’s husband, Tereus, was the son of Ares, the god of war. He was an absolutely awful man. When escorting his wife’s sister, Philomela, to his home so she could meet her nephew and see her sister, he fell in love (or lust) with her. So he told her that her sister had died and he forced her into a sham marriage. When Philomela realized the truth and threatened him, he cut out her tongue and hid her away. She was more clever than he, however, and got word to her sister through an elaborate weaving. For revenge, Procne freed her sister, killed her son and cooked him in a dish that she then served her husband. Somehow, I don’t think that this tale is appropriate for a five-year-old. Probably best to wait until a child is at least ten to tell him this one.
But while this isn’t really intended for children, the colorful illustrations by Sara Richard, the simple text, and the complete cast of characters make this a great book to have on hand for those who are interested in Greek Mythology and want something that’s a quicker read than Edith Hamilton’s ubiquitous book on Greek Mythology. With all the movies by Marvel and others about the Gods of yore, this is a book that might be of interest to young adult and middle grade readers.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Simon & Schuster, the publisher, for review purposes.