Young Plato and the Cave

Written and illustrated by F.A. Chekki

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This is a wonderful and innovative book for children in middle grades and older. It serves as an introduction to one of Plato’s works, The Allegory of the Cave, as well as a bird’s eye view of ancient Greece and its importance to the Western world today.

At the beginning of the book, the reader meets the philosopher Socrates and his student, Aristotle just finishing a lesson. Portraits of Socrates and Aristotle are given as well as thumbnails of the poem which has Plato visiting the oracle in the cave to discern its mystery. Side by side with the allegorical tale, the author presents what he calls, “Bites” of Greek knowledge. These include the government of Athens, Mount Olympus and its gods, the Library of Alexandria, Greek education, the Oracle of Delphi, notions of Arete, and Greek architecture, Greek theater, art, religion, and geography. These small bites pack an abundance of material on each page.

The black and white pencil drawings of the allegorical tale are combined with humor to contrast nicely with the colorful photos of sculpture, paintings, and Greek artifacts. Students are introduced to a plethora of subjects in an easily digestible format. Teachers have an unlimited field of possibilities when using this book as jump off point of discussion for history, literature, philosophy, government, art and science. Any child age nine and older should be able to find an area of interest for further exploration. As a historian, I was impressed by the succinct but pithy descriptions and the well balanced text. Highly recommended to parents, librarians, teachers and budding scholars who want to learn about ancient Greece in a nutshell! I am confident that most readers will be encouraged to explore to learn more.

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