Review Blog

Jan 13 2013

Greek myths: stories of sun, stone and sea by Sally Pomme Clayton

cover image

Ill. by Jane Ray. Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2012. ISBN 978 1 84780 227 9.
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Greek myths. Another beautiful retelling of ten Greek myths enhanced with luminous illustrations, will be eagerly picked up by all who see the book, wanting to read something new, read aloud some favourite stories or reacquaint themselves with stories known from their childhood. Whatever the reason this book will have broad appeal.
The ten stories include the Creation story, the story of Pandora, Athena and Poseidon, Perseus and Medusa, Pan and Midas, Pegasus, Atalanta, Orpheus and Eurydice, Apollo and Midas, Arachne and Athena. Each is given a fresh retelling, and several have some difference in the detail which makes them more intriguing. Pandora for example, does not have a box, but a pottery jar, given her by the gods with the order that it not be opened.
Most of the stories are most familiar, and even though people may think they know nothing of Greek myths, some recollection will occur when reading these, be it a whole story, a snippet, or a name. Everyone has heard of Medusa and her crown of snakes, but not all will know of Perseus' method of destroying her or of what he did with the head afterwards. The vibrant illustrations reflect the style often used with books of myths and fairy tales, employing a flat almost embroidered look to the pictures, often edged with borders and not allowing perspective to get in the way of a good picture. Children will love seeking out what is mentioned in the text, and scour the map and glossary, as I did for further information. A further list of books will not escape people's attention as they seek more myths to read.
This wonderful retelling held me intrigued for the whole book, and will no doubt be one that will grace children's shelves, as well as that of the local and school libraries.
Fran Knight

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