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Summary: These nine short stories introduce the reader to how Greek gods and heroes came to be, as well as stories about individual gods, goddesses, mythic creatures, and great feats by humans. This is an illustrated chapter book for transitional readers.
Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 7 to 10; read yourself: 10 to 12
Interest Level: 7 to 10
Reading Level: 4.5
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: I liked this collection of stories. The author explains up front that you can read them in any order, which is always good for picky readers. The illustrations are very well done and help the kids visualize the story. This is a book for children reading (or ready to read) independently, so the illustrations to not help with decoding. The page and cover weights are better than your average paperback, too, so they will hold up to lots of reading.
Pros: This slim selection of classic myths will engage readers of all types. It is a wonderful starter set for intriguing dormant readers. The stories are action-packed and the illustrations (in color!) well done.
Cons: At the back of the book, there is a list of places you can find out more about some of the stories' heroes and monsters. I was disappointed that they only pointed to other books in this series. It would have been nice to have some websites and some non-self-promoting resources, too.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a wonderful introduction to myths and legends, but once hooked, kids will want meatier stories.
Educational Themes: This book (and the series as a whole) cover the most commonly retold myths, and also introduce you to characters you may not have heard of. Because each story is self-contained, kids can select one that is particularly interesting and then find other stories about the characters or different versions of the myths. You can also read the text and let kids draw what they see based on what you read.
Notes: This publisher sent a copy of this book as part of the 2010 Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Award (Cybils) process. This review is not intended to represent the opinions of the Cybils. The book will be donated to a reader in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - mythology, short stories, dragons, middle grade