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Mythology and Literature

Mythology and Literature

I. Mythology Collections

Apollo and Daphne: Masterpieces of Mythology, retold by Antonia Barber.

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 1998. ISBN 0-89236-504-8. This gorgeous art book contains brief retellings of 15 stories, illustrated by the paintings of Botticelli, Pollaiuolo, Poussin, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Burne-Jones, and others. Includes a handy index of artists and paintings, table of Greek/Roman names, and family trees of the gods.


D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths, by Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire.

Doubleday, 1962. ISBN 0-385-01583-6 (Trade), 0-385-15787-8 (Paperback). "A Children's Classic."


D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths, by Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire.

Audio tape, 4 cassettes, from Airplay. Unabridged. Read by Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Kathleen Turner, and Matthew Broderick.


Favorite Greek Myths, by Mary Pope Osborne, Illus. Troy Howell.

Scholastic, Inc., 1989. ISBN 0-590-41338-4. Nice pictures, sort of Maxfield Parrish-y in style.


Greek Myths, retold by Geraldine McCaughrean, Illus. Emma Chichester Clark.

Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster), 1992. ISBN 0-689-50583-3. Includes stories from Hesiod, Homer, Ovid.


Greek Myths For Young Children, by Marcia Williams.

Candlewick Press, Cambridge, MA, 1991. ISBN 1-56402-115-7 (hardcover); 1-56402-440-7 (paperback). In comic-strip format. Includes Pandora's Box, Arion & the Dolphins, Orpheus & Eurydice, Heracles, Daedalus & Icarus, Perseus & Medusa, Theseus & the Minotaur, Arachne versus Athena. Williams has also done the Iliad and the Odyssey (see below), King Arthur, Sinbad the Sailor, Robin Hood, and Don Quixote in this format. Adults may find the drawings crude (though pleasantly colorful) and the humor, well, puerile, but six- and seven-year-olds seem to love this stuff.


The Illustrated Book of Myths: Tales and Legends of the World, by Neil Philip, Illus. Nilesh Mistry.

Dorling Kindersley, 1995. ISBN 0789402025.


Orpheus: Myths of the World, by Padraic Colum.

Floris Books. ISBN 0863155197.


Top Ten Greek Legends, by Terry Deary, Illus. with black and white drawings by Michael Tickner.

Scholastic, 1998. ISBN 0-439-08618-3 (paperback). With humor that is truly laugh-out-loud funny to a ten-year-old, this book should have lots of appeal for, say, eight-to-fourteen-year-olds. Presents lots of detail on a variety of myths in a variety of formats, including lists of heroes, gods, and monsters, an epistle from Aphrodite to Zeus, a humorous poem on Orpheus, Perseus' diary, a police report on the death of Jocasta, wanted posters for Sisyphus et al., a section on word origins, a skit on the Trojan war, and a true-or-false quiz on Athenian drama.

II. Individual Stories

The Adventures of Odysseus, Retold by Neil Philip, Illus. Peter Malone.

Orchard Books, New York, 1996. ISBN 0-531-30000-5. A clear, straightforward retelling of the Odyssey. The illustrations in this book rank among my favorites (along with those in Atalanta's Race, Cleopatra, and The Last Quest of Gilgamesh). The high picture-to-text ratio will make this book more appealing to the younger read-aloud crowd than Sutcliff and Connolly, though parents of young children may not welcome the opportunity to explain what Odysseus is doing with Circe "naked in her bed." (Connolly, by contrast, barely mentions Circe and Calypso!) All retellings of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey must include a parental warning about the gory violence.


Arion & the Dolphin, by Vikram Seth, Illus. Jane Ray.

Dutton Children's Books (div. of Penguin USA). ISBN 0-525-45384-9. This is based on the libretto Seth wrote for an opera composed by Alec Roth, which was performed in Plymouth, England in June 1994. Perhaps too sad for most young children (the beloved dolphin dies), unless they have an early taste for tragedy.


Atalanta's Race: A Greek Myth. Retold by Shirley Climo, Illus. Alexander Koshkin.

Clarion Books, New York, 1995. ISBN 0-395-67322-4. Well-told, beautiful illustrations.


Black ships before Troy : the story of the Iliad, by Rosemary Sutcliff, Illus. Alan Lee.

Delacorte Press, New York 1993. ISBN 0-385-31069-2. 127 pages, includes pronunciation guide. Ages 8 and up.


The Children's Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy, by Padraic Colum, Illus. Willy Pogany.

Reprint. Aladin Paperbacks, 1982. ISBN 002045201. For young adult readers. Bruce McMenomy praises Colum's versions and Pogany's "art nouveau-ish" line drawings. See above and below for other titles in print by Colum: Orpheus: Myths of the World, The Golden Fleece and the Heroes who Lived Before Achilles, and The Trojan War and Adventures of Odysseus.


A Coloring Book of the Trojan War: The Iliad Vols. 1-2, by John K. Anderson, Illus. Nancy Conkle after Greek vase paintings, with excerpts from Greek texts gleaned by Apostolos Athanassakis.

Bellerophon Books, 1995. School age to adult. ("send a 3-stamped long envelope for our gorgeous catalog": Bellerophon Books, 122 Helena Avenue, Santa Barbara, CA, 93101).


Cupid and Psyche, as told by M. Charlotte Craft, Illus. K. Y. Craft.

Morrow Junior Books, 1996. ISBN 0-688-13163-8.


The Deadly Power of Medusa, by Will Osborne and Mary Pope Osborne, Illus. Steve Sullivan.

Scholastic, Inc./Apple Paperbacks, 1988. ISBN 0-590-45580-X. The Adventures of Perseus. For older elementary grades, and middle school.


Demeter and Persephone, translated and adapted by Penelope Proddow, Illus. Barbara Cooney.

Doubleday, 1972. A version of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter.


Dionysus and the Pirates, by Penelope Proddow, Illus. Barbara Cooney.

Doubleday, 1970. A translation of the Homeric Hymn to Dionysus. Appealing illustrations.


An Elementary Odyssey: Teaching Ancient Civilization through Story, by David H. Millstone.

Heinemann. Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1995. ISBN 0-435-08841-6. An excellent guide for teachers, describing in lucid detail a full curriculum for fifth-graders based on Homer's Odyssey. There is also a chapter on "Odysseus in First Grade," and an up-to-date, thoughtfully annotated bibliography.


The Goatherd and the Shepherdess, retold by Lenny Hart, Illus. with acrylic paintings by Lloyd Bloom.

Dial Books for Young Readers. New York, 1995. ISBN 0-8037-1352-5 (cloth); 0-8037-1353-3 (library binding). The story of Daphnis and Chloe.


The Golden Fleece and the Heroes who Lived Before Achilles, by Padraic Colum, Illus. Willy Pogany.

Reprint. Aladin Paperbacks, 1983. ISBN 0020422601. See above, The Children's Homer, on Colum.


Hercules: The Man, the Myth, the Hero, by Kathryn Lasky, Illus. Mark Hess.

Hyperion Books for Children. New York, 1997. ISBN 0-7868-0329-0. A first-person narration of Hercules' adventures from babyhood to apotheosis. For ages 5-9, according to the cover; this sounds right for the picture-to-text ratio, but be warned that the episode of Hercules' killing his children is included.


Hermes, Lord of Robbers, by Penelope Proddow, Illus. Barbara Cooney.

Doubleday, 1971. Currently out of print. A version of the Homeric Hymn to Hermes; see also Demeter and Persephone and Dionysus and the Pirates, above.


Iliad of Homer, by Barbara Leonie Picard.

Oxford University Press. ISBN 019-2741470.


Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, by Barbara Leonie Picard.

Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0671-081551.


The Iliad, retold by Ian Strachen, Illus. Victor Ambrus.

Kingfisher. New York, 1997. ISBN 0-7534-5107-7. Ninety-seven pages; includes a prounouncing guide. There is a picture or decoration on almost every page.


The Iliad and The Odyssey, Retold & Illus. by Marcia Williams.

Candlewick Press, Cambridge, MA, 1996. ISBN 0-7636-0053-9 (hardcover). See above on Williams' Greek Myths For Young Children. This volume contains, along with the Homeric stories, a fair amount of material from the Cyclic Epics: The Judgment of Paris, Odysseus' and Achilles' attempts at draft-dodging, the Trojan Horse, etc.


King Midas, Retold by Neil Philip, Illus. Isabelle Brent.

Little, Brown and Company, 1994. ISBN 0-316-70521-7. A strikingly attractive book; each page has wide decorative Greek-pottery-inspired borders, and the illustrations and borders flash with gold. The elegant retelling is based on Ovid's version of the story, with details from other sources. Ca. age 5 and up.


The Legend of Odysseus, by Peter Connolly.

Oxford University Press, 917065-7. Ages 9-14. "What Connolly has chosen to do is to retell in vivid, sinewy prose Homer's great story ... interspersing the narrative sequences with all kinds of historical materials in order to ground the legends in a particular time and place. If this book does not make classical scholars or archaeologists out of your kids, nothing will."--The Washington Post Book World, quoted by OUP. This book covers all of the Iliad as well as the Odyssey.


Max and Ruby's First Greek Myth: Pandora's Box, by Rosemary Wells.

Dial Books for Young Readers, 1993. ISBN 0-8037-1524-2. Cute. Very freely retold for young children.


The Midas Touch, by Jan Mark, Illus. Juan Wijngaard.

Candlewick Press, 1999. ISBN 0-7636-0488-7. Well-told, with exceptionally beautiful illustrations and clever design; a good read-aloud. See also Esther┬╣s Story (under Biblical) for Wijngaard┬╣s gorgeous work.


Odyssey of Homer, by Barbara Leonie Picard.

Oxford University Press. ISBN 019-2741462.


Odysseus. Een Man van Verhalen, by Imme Dros.

Amsterdam : Em. Querido's Uitgeverij B.V., 1994. Italian traslation: Firenze, Salani, 1996. 198 pages; no illustrations. A retelling, in Dutch, of the Odyssey, for 10 to 13- year-olds. Telemachus, inquiring about his father, interviews different characters, who tell the story from their own points of view.


The Odyssey: An Epic Telling, by Odds Bodkin (audio cassette).

Rivertree Productions, Inc., 1998. ISBN 1882412176. I have not heard this myself, but it gets a rave review from the Chinaberry book catalog (2780 Via Orange Way, Suite B, Spring Valley, CA 91978; tel. 619-670-5200, toll-free 800-776-2242), which is usually a good guide. The Chinaberry description reads in part: "[Bodkin's] harp, twelve-string guitar, imagination, and spell-binding voice are all that are needed to captivate his audience. Here are over three hours of listening magic. Some of it is violent; much of it is suspenseful; some of it is sheer loveliness; parts of it are gory; all of it is superb." Also available in cd form. Both cassette and cd come with a map/poster.


Odysseus and the Cyclops, retold and illustrated by Warwick Hutton.

Margaret K. MacElderry Books (Simon & Schuster). New York, 1995. ISBN 0-689-80036-3. Clear, lively, and accurate retelling, with pen and watercolor illustrations. By the same author: Theseus and the Minotaur, The Trojan Horse, Perseus, and Persephone.


Pegasus, by Krystyna Turska.

New York, 1970. ISBN 531-01857-1. The story of Bellerophon and Pegasus.


Persephone & the Pomegranate, by Kris Waldherr.

Dial Books for Young Readers, 1993. ISBN 0-8037-1191-3.


The Trojan War and the Adventures of Odysseus, by Padraic Colum, Illus. Barry Moser.

Books of Wonder. Reprint. William Morrow & Co., 1997. ISBN 0688145884.


The Wanderings of Odysseus: The Story of the Odyssey, by Rosemary Sutcliff, Illus. Alan Lee.

Delacorte, 1996. "Homer's epic, recast in spellbinding narrative by Britain's master storyteller, accompanied by splendid watercolors: for older children, and for their parents, a masterpiece." (blurb from Smithsonian Magazine: "Smithsonian's Notable Books for Children, 1996," November 1996 issue.) ISBN 0-385-32205-4.


Wings, by Jane Yolen, Illus. Dennis Nolan.

Harcourt Brace, ISBN 0-15-297850-X. The Daedalus & Icarus story. Nice illustrations, well-told despite somewhat overdone portentousness; sad ending.


Witch Princess, by Dorothy M. Johnson, Illus. Carolyn Cather.

Houghton Mifflin, 1967. 216 pp. Jason's encounter with Medea and the Golden Fleece, told from the point of view of one of Medea's handmaidens. Out of print now, but available in libraries.