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A Gift from Zeus

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  51 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Here are myths from Greeks and Romans,
With chimeras, curses, omens,
Strange seductions, gold abounding,
Transformations most astounding,
Sorceresses, swans, and mazes,
Goddesses with lethal gazes,
Flying horses-goodness gracious!
Snaky heads and bulls salacious,
Minotaurs and monsters strangled,
Passions kinkily entangled--
All herein--"A Gift From Zeus"
(which, by the way
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published June 1st 2001 by Joanna Cotler Books (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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 ·  51 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Nancy Meservier
Jeanne Steig's A Gift from Zeus, gathers sixteen classic Greek myths and attempts to retell them for children. The result is a somewhat uneven collection. Steig does a great job of simplifying complicated stories for children while leaving them mostly intact, but the language is somewhat inconstant. At times, it feels very modern, conversational and satisfyingly funny, but other times it feels rather formal. There is also some confusion as to what audience this book is intended for. On one hand, ...more
Dec 28, 2008 rated it liked it
I like the writing in this book a lot. Kudos to Jeanne Steig for that. The illustrations, by her husband, and author of Shreck, amongst others, are not without their charm. However, I don't find his work particularly appealing, either. They are amusing, but many times I find myself laughing at them, not with them.
Not for children. Some bawdy and somewhat sexually explicit narrative. Entertaining, but don't let the cartoonish illustrations lead you to believe that this is just another collection of Greek/Roman myths.
Brenna Smotzer
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: brenna-smotzer
1 Myth
Title (italicize): A Gift From Zeus: Sixteen Favorite Myths
Author: Jeanne Steig
Illustrator (if separate from author): William Steig
Genre: Mythology
Theme(s): Greed, Jealousy,, Bad behavior, Good, Redemption
Opening line/sentence (type directly from text):
“It’s impossibly boring down here,” said Zeus. “How on earth can you bear it?”

Brief Book Summary (2-3 sentences in your own words):
Jeanne Steig puts together a collection of Greek Mythology for children that highlights the humor yet
Chloe Weir
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book when I was young. I was probably younger than the target audience, but these stories have stayed with me, probably because the telling is so vivid and frank. I think of it often, which I think is one of the best compliments I could give.
Shelley Alongi
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
The poetry is pretty good. I didn’t think this book was for children I must’ve missed something somewhere. I liked the modern twist everything. But I knew most of these stories so I didn’t really learn anything new. I did like the sarcasm and humor that was thrown in unexpected places.
Jennifer Martelon
Mar 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
Title: A Gift From Zeus
Author: Jenna Steig
Illustrator: William Steig
Genre: Myth
Theme(s): Different themes present throughout stories
Opening line/sentence: “It’s impossibly boring down here,” said Zeus.
Brief Book Summary: This book consists of sixteen different and favorite Greek and Roman myths. These myths are attempted to be rewritten for children.
Professional Recommendation/Review #1: Steig, Jeanne A Gift from Zeus: Sixteen Favorite Myths
170 pp. HarperCollins/Cotler 2001. ISBN
Jody Mena
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Actually a very good book! The myths were told in a very colloquial manner, which was refreshing and interesting. A lot of us have heard all of these myths before here or there, but as some may have forgotten in this age of written words, and almost overwhelming media sensationalism, that its not always the facts of a story that are important, but HOW the story is told. Storytelling is nearly a lost art, but it still has the power to stir the imagination when its done right, and the same tale, ...more
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
People who give this wonderful book a bad review on the grounds that they or their toddlers were shocked by it deserve to be chained to a rock, or turned into swine. This is NOT a children's book (though we read it to our children when they were about ten, and they have not turned into criminal misfits yet). What it is: a wonderfully irreverent / childish / violent / bawdy / absurd / funny / unexpected take on the most famous Greek myths, refreshingly cleansed of all the piety and earnest ...more
Skylar Burris
Here is the description on the book: "Featuring gods and goddesses, flying horses, Minotaurs, and monsters, this rhyming saga is designed to be a humorous introduction to mythology for young readers. Full color." We began reading a random story to start, which my daughter chose from the pictures on the back, and I discovered four problems with the description. One, the story did not rhyme. Two, it was not a saga (but a short story). Three, it was not particularly humorous. And four, it was not ...more
Apr 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
5 stars for Perseus, Bellerophon, and Theseus. I could kind of understand them more; I was already familiar with parts of them. The other ones had more like kissy stuff.

Mom's note: Reading Greek mythology to your 5 year old may not be the best choice. This book was full of, um, ungodly behavior, mostly of a sexual nature. I had to stay a line ahead so I could edit the worst of it. However! I love that Loki really had an interest in this book (has he ever met a book he didn't like?) and through
Jul 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: jnf-300-folklore
I thought it was a tad raunchy for the intended audience (children). Otherwise, interesting stories; but Caldecott-winning William Steig's illustrations made everyone look slightly deformed, so that those who were described as so beautiful that everyone was in love with them, looked somewhat hideous in the illustrations.
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great summary of the top Greek myths. Fun, punchy, clear. However, NOT FOR LITTLE KIDS! It's saucy! The author has no reservations about mentioning Zeus ravishing virgins, etc., in almost every chapter. Furthermore, lots of boobies in the pictures. It's all correct, but if you aren't ready to explain consensual sex, rape and more to your kids, hold off a few years before letting them read this.
May 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Two stars because it is such a beautiful book. I don't think I have ever seen such thick paper ever used in even a coffee table book. And really that is what this is - a coffee table book. Some of the myths are interesting but they are mostly just recounted not given real life through an interesting storytelling manner.
Lelani Black
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lelani by: Bought it from a book club years ago.
I love Greece, I love Greek/Roman mythology and whenever I need a giggle, or a chuckle, or a refresher on classical mythology, I pick up this book. It's charming and amusing, re-tells classic tales of woe, and foe. Limbs wave, leaves flutter, among other sexy shenanigans that gods and goddesses get up, or down to. Tee hee.
Nevada Libert
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
these are great greek myths.
Cassie Helwig
May 30, 2014 rated it liked it
A good book, but NOT. Children's book like it is portrayed to be.
Gregg Brown
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