Posts tagged ‘ancient Greece’

BELIEVE

Hercules Finds His Courage: Taki and Toula Time Travelers

Written by Elena Paige

This is one book in a series of time traveling adventures taken by six-year-old Taki and his eight-year-old sister, Toula. These children live on the island of Crete. One day, while playing with a chest of old clothes, they discover a pair of unusual shoes. Each of the children puts on one shoe. Suddenly, they are transported to ancient Greece, where they are astonished to find a bull and a man crying. Even though they are frightened, the siblings appease the bull. They discover Hercules who is discouraged from completing the twelve labors with which he has been tasked.

The book is a nice way to introduce a bit of Greek mythology and history to early readers. Illustrations are cartoon-like and simple, but they do the job of portraying the action of the plot. Coupled with large and easy to read font, it makes the book attractive to the beginning and reluctant readers. Recommended especially for readers in the six to eight age range.

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ANCIENT GREECE IN A NUTSHELL

If You Were Me and Lived in …Ancient Greece

Written by Carole P. Roman

Illustrated by Mateya Arkova

ancientgreece,picThis book is part of a new series which looks at the cultures and customs not of individual countries but about civilizations throughout time. Ancient Greece is the topic of the first release. The author begins by describing the geographical location of Greece and how Greece may have looked in the past contrasting it with the present. Unlike the other series, this book covers a much broader time period, and the author chooses to stage her character as a child living around 350 B.C. in classical Greece. There is no mention of the previous Greek Archaic Period, the rule of the aristocracy or the tyrants which eventually evolved into the establishment of democratic city states. Much of the book discusses everyday life, food, dress, education, family structure, occupations, and religion. Roman ends her discussion with the military conqueror Alexander the Great who established an empire, and whose death would usher in the end of the classical period and the beginning of the Hellenistic Age.

There is a great deal of information simplified and condensed for the elementary school and middle school reader. I would have liked to see more detailed maps showing locations and some actual photographs, though the simple, soft pastel illustrations are lovely and appealing for a younger reader. The glossary and list of gods and goddesses are helpful because readers will need to reference these to keep track of all the information. No doubt this book will open a child’s eyes to the vast legacy of ancient Greece and provide an excellent starting ground for future explorations on the political, social, religious, scientific and educational contributions of ancient Greece.

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PINT-SIZED MYTHOLOGY

Greek Mythology: The complete guide to Greek Mythology, Ancient Greece, Greek Gods, Zeus, Hercules, Titans, and more!

Written by Nick Plesiotis

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That title is quite a mouthful! This kindle book will give the reader a bird’s eye view of Greek mythology, its history, and a few examples. Greek myths have been around since approximately 900 B.C. They played an extraordinary role in the growth of politics, religion, and social life of the ancient world. Much of our modern day literature reflects their influence.

The author divides the Greek mythological world into three periods: the age of the Gods, the age of Gods and Mortals, and the Age of Heroes. He explains the ancient Greek religion and gives a brief summary of the gods and their equivalents in later Roman mythology. Then Plesiotis goes into detail about some of the more popular heroes like Hercules and the twelve labors he was forced to perform. One chapter explores the Trojan War and the famous Trojan horse ploy used to defeat the Spartans. Prometheus is a Titan who was particularly close to mankind. The author describes how this Titan bestowed the gifts of fire, husbandry, and metalwork upon man.

This twenty some odd page digital book is my no means a definitive guide, but is a great reference for a middle grade school report or introduction to further exploration of Greek and Roman mythology. It would have benefited from a few illustrations to accompany the stories, but I would still recommend this book as a well-written clear reference guide for children and adults age eight and up who have an interest in the subject.

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LABRYINTH WITH A TWIST

The Shadow of the Minotaur: (Shadows From The Past)

Written by Wendy Leighton-Porter

 

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This is the second book in a planned fifteen book series which takes three children and a Tonkinese cat on a series of time travel adventures. Twins Joe and Jemima live with their Uncle Richard since their parents mysteriously disappeared. In the first book of the series, the twins journey with their talking cat, Max and their friend Charlie back in time to Atlantis in search of their parents. Using the same magic bird golden charms, they continue on their search in book two to ancient Greece. The reader meets Prince Theseus, the son of King Aegeus about to be sent with seven women and six other men as tribute to King Minos. They must kill the half human and half bull Minotaur and escape the labyrinth deep in the bowls of the palace of Knossos or sacrifice themselves.

The children and Max find themselves on the Greek ship traveling to Knossos where they meet Theseus. They instruct him to use a ball of wool to guide him through the maze and assure him that he will succeed in his quest. He learns that the king’s daughter Princess Ariadne will assist him. King Aegeus asks that Theseus change the black sails to white sails when he returns as a sign that he has been successful, but the outlook is bleak as no one has ever returned alive from this mission.  When the ship arrives in Crete, the children are shocked to meet Medon and his family, the very same family that helped them escape from Atlantis! They present Jemima with a disc of terracotta in Linear B script bearing the name of their baby, Jemima who has been named after her. Medon helps them find the palace of Knossos. Princess Ariadne bribes a guard and helps the Athenians. She hopes to escape her cruel father and travel back to Athens with Theseus. When the plans go awry, she places Max the talking cat in a basket and sends him back to Medon for help. Meanwhile our heroes and the Athenians are trapped in the labyrinth trying to kill the Minotaur and escape. They face numerous perils and a gruesome task for Theseus has pledged to bring back the head of the beast as a trophy.

The author adds some modern technology to the myth and develops the characters well in interesting fashion. The plot moves along at a quick pace alternating between scenes at the palace, the ship, and our three modern time travelers.  I would have loved to have seen a few illustrations of the more dramatic scenes interwoven with the story. Tweens and young adults will love the mixture of ancient myth, spunky characters and modern technology woven together in the book. Readers who wish to continue the adventure series will find themselves back in time within the Trojan horse in the third book of this series.

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