Review Blog

Nov 09 2018

Athena the story of a Goddess by Imogen and Isobel Greenberg

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408892497
(Age: 8+) Greek myths, Athena, Gods and goddesses, Women. Athena the story of a Goddess, is a collaboration between the Greenberg sisters, with Imogen retelling the story and Isabel providing the arresting images. The tale of the goddess Athena is retold in comic style, part Graphic Novel, part text, while the pages are filled with illustrations full of the fire of her life reflecting the images presented on Greek antiquities. Some pages are presented in full comic mode, with illustrations bound by frames, and conversation given in bubbles in the air, while others are presented in larger amounts of text with some illustrations, but all is easily read, the text and drawings conveying to all readers the tenor of her life.
From the story of her birth when she appeared out of Zeus's skull!, Athena soon made her headstrong self known. She was a strong, wise woman who showed distinct favour to humans, frowned upon by the other gods watching from Mount Olympus.
In this publication, we see her outwit Poseidon to have a city named after her (Athens), destroy the life of one more talented than her (Arachne) changing her into a spider, challenge her sisters to charm a shepherd by the name of Paris, and watch over Odysseus on his return home from the Trojan Wars. The lives of gods and goddesses intersect with humans in these stories, the gods and goddesses having power of life and death over humans, and sometimes playing with them like toys.
Athena's strength in dealing with others who cross her path is captivating, and the retelling is accessible to all young readers, who will enjoy the black outlined illustrations.
A double page at the start gives quick biographies of the main protagonists in the tale of Athena, and the endpapers show the illustrations seen on Greek vases, used as a reference for Isabel's illustrations.
Fran Knight

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