Yeah, this one is great. I own a lot of books of folktales and this definitely is up there as one of the best. I've really enjoyed reading them aloudYeah, this one is great. I own a lot of books of folktales and this definitely is up there as one of the best. I've really enjoyed reading them aloud to my son, even though he's too young to understand them yet, while he toddles around on the floor. This one goes on the to-own shelf for sure....more
This was not my favorite of Jane Yolen's folktale collections, but I still enjoyed it. One thing that struck me was how much I missed the sense of bacThis was not my favorite of Jane Yolen's folktale collections, but I still enjoyed it. One thing that struck me was how much I missed the sense of background information about how old people are understood in the various places these stories came from. I didn't care for the language variations she used when writing stories from the United States. Nevertheless, it was a good thing to read as a break from my more academic reading on age....more
It was a cute idea for a children's bestiary - about three beasts per page, each with its own appropriate descriptive collective noun. You can find aIt was a cute idea for a children's bestiary - about three beasts per page, each with its own appropriate descriptive collective noun. You can find a glossary in the back of the book with short explanations of all of the dozens of mythical creatures illustrated here. ...more
The thing is, this is the kind of book I usually really get into. The illustrations add very little, being scattered through the book )one per story),The thing is, this is the kind of book I usually really get into. The illustrations add very little, being scattered through the book )one per story), but they are nice and detailed pencil drawings. The short 9-20 page retellings of six carefully chosen stories is a great way to introduce people to the myths. They are told in a way that (I think) acknowledges both the history behind the story AND the person of the new storyteller. Rylant has her own very Rylant-y angle to these myths (although she doesn't tell the reader that it's her angle, not an ancient Greek one), and I don't think that's a bad thing.
Here's what I DO think is a bad thing:
1) the essence of femininity is, apparently, joy in submission in heterosexual relationships. I wish it were just the Pandora story that had that, but it's also Persephone. And Pygmalion. And Narcissus. And, to a lesser degree (thank godddess) Psyche. And even though the ancient Greeks WERE patriarchal, what Rylant presents is much more in line with conservative American gender roles.
2) She gets the "details" wrong. (Like Prometheus is a "man" not a god, and "Persephone was a mortal, but her mother, Demeter, was a goddess." Oh really? I doubt the huge chunk of the population that followed the Mysteries at various times would have been happy to hear that.)
Of course, not everyone cares about that. If you don't, and you want a retelling that uses contemporary language and storytelling style, then maybe you should check this out....more
This is an illustrated collection of stories about goddesses aimed at kids.
I have to admit that I prefer Trina Schart Hyman's paintings to these collThis is an illustrated collection of stories about goddesses aimed at kids.
I have to admit that I prefer Trina Schart Hyman's paintings to these collage mixes, and I think I've read better tellings of almost all the stories in here, so it can't get five stars. But while I might prefer other retellings of these stories and other illustrations, there is no other book that puts these all together. This is the divine companion to The Serpent Slayer, which I liked for similar reasons.
Now that I've complained, I have to admit that I approve of Hyman's reasons for collage. Apart from wanting to expand her artistic horizons, she felt like creating art of these goddesses was a spiritual task and required guidance and permission. I think - even though I don't find the images as appealing - that the artist's connection to the divine does come through. So that's a plus.
And, now that I've told you that I like other retellings better, part of the reason is that this is (as I mentioned) aimed at telling to kids. Myths are often dark and heavy things with elements that earlier times would not have flinched from telling children, but we live in a different world. I suspect some of what I noticed came from a degree of censorship (both by the author and by others), based on a note in the back that talked about how the art was censored. So take that as you will....more
I grew up with D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, but despite an interest in Norse mythology never picked this one up. It accomplishes much the same thiI grew up with D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, but despite an interest in Norse mythology never picked this one up. It accomplishes much the same thing, generically speaking, as the former Greek version, in that I finish the book with a good sense of who the important gods were and what the important stories involve. For me, this is a crucial step in learning about new mythologies, because too much information too quickly can be alienating.
On the other hand, I don't think this is nearly as good a book as D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. The illustrations are not half as compelling, and many of the stories feel warmed over, if you know what I mean.
I doubt that there are any other books out there that provide the function this one does, but I still think I would rather start out my children with Gods and Goddesses of the Ancient Norse, just because the illustrations are so much more appealing.
(I feel I should also note that this is not a mythology I am super excited about introducing to my hypothetical children because of the gender dynamics of the pantheon and the myths. Not to mention the whole war=awesome mentality.)...more