This competent introduction to Greek mythology, adapted from Freeman's recent adult title Oh My Gods, begins with a description of Creation, followed by sections on major and minor deities, heroes, lovers, and such stories as the fall of Troy and the founding of Rome, among other popular tales. A great deal of space is devoted to Zeus's love affairs and, more often, rapes. Other gods generally receive a page or two, although some who are naturals for a young audience--like Ares and Athena--are given little space. The heroes' tales receive significantly more attention, though they are mostly told in a pedestrian third-person style that fails to convey much excitement. As part of one of Hercules's labors, for example, Freeman writes that he "found the bull and wrestled it to the ground. Then he borrowed a trick that his father, Zeus, had used with Europa. He rode the bull across the sea and back to the mainland." Adequate as an overview, but there are stronger choices available, particularly Donna Jo Napoli's 2011 Treasury of Greek Mythology. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. Agent: Joelle Delbourgo, Joelle Delbourgo Associates. (May)¦[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
Gr 6 Up--Adapted from Freeman's adult title Oh My Gods (S & S, 2012), this overview of classical mythology covers much territory. Beginning with "Creation" and Zeus stepping up as "leader of the immortals," the book is divided into broad sections with two- to eight-page segments describing an array of "Gods," "Goddesses," "Heroes," and "Lovers" (included here are tales such as "Procne and Philomela" and "Glaucus and Scylla"). Chapters focusing on "Hercules," "Jason and the Argonauts," "Odysseus," and other well-known adventures are lengthier, and the final section touches briefly upon Roman myths. While Zeus and his interactions with the mortal women "unlucky" enough to catch his eye are allotted 14 pages, other deities get briefer treatment (Athena is given about 2 pages with the story of Arachne squeezed in). The stories unfold with plenty of violent encounters, sexual conquests, alliances and betrayals, ambition and revenge, and harrowing twists of fate. However, despite the high drama, the detail-laden writing seems almost workmanlike (Theseus's heroic feat is described: "He killed the Minotaur and then led the youths and maidens out of the twisting Labyrinth by following the thread"). Presented in shades of black and gray, the digitally rendered illustrations add muscle to the text with sophisticated, graphic-novel-style depictions of the characters and their endeavors. While this volume could be used as a survey-style introduction, readers looking for greater artistry and emotional depth would do better with works such as Donna Jo Napoli's Treasury of Greek Mythology (National Geographic, 2011).--Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal[Page 155]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.