Gods and Goddesses of Olympus, The

The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus by Aliki. Harper Collins Publishers, 1994. ISBN 0-06-023531-4 $21.50 48 pp.

How do we foster a love for mythology in children, so that they'll be open to it from an early age? That's easy. Familiarize them with classic stories in both oral and written form. Aliki's inimitable illustrations will make this picture book appealing to the young audience for whom it is intended. I'd love to know, though, what non-readers will make of some of the pictures, such as those of Cronus swallowing, and later regurgitating, his children. (My kids would have been fascinated.)

The simple text introduces children to the gods of ancient Greece, beginning with Gaea- Mother Earth- and progressing through the family tree of the Olympians. Far simpler than D' Aulaires' Myths, and in a factual rather than narrative form, it provides useful, introductory material for school projects, and engrossing reading for those youngsters who happen on it.

The intended audience is 4 to 8 year olds, and some might question whether the Greek gods, with all of their quarrelling, womanizing, and peculiarities, are appropriate fare for such young children. There are, of course, many picture book versions of individual myths which are suitable for the very young, and accessible to them. Those whose children have already met the gods in this manner, and who are looking for an overview of the immortals, will welcome the chance to introduce the myths to children at an early age in this simplified form.

The Second Story Review, Vol 3, No. 3, Sep 1998
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