Greek Myths

Written by Ann Turnbull
Review by Julie Parker

Fresh take on some of the most important Greek myths, illustrated in a very modern way in tones of grey and green with occasional flashes of colour and the glow of gold. We are entertained by tales of the Greek gods and heroes, the relationship between which is clearly set out in the foreword, where we are told of the history of the Titans, the twelve Olympians and the Muses. The book is divided into three sections: the earth, the heavens and the underworld; monsters and heroes and, finally, gods and mortals.

It is empowering to find the story of Atalanta, raised as a boy on the hillsides and expert with a bow as described in The Kalydonian Boar Hunt. The story Atalanta’s Race, however, tells of her ‘downfall’ when she is distracted by Hippomenes’ golden apples. In Pandora we learn of the frailty of woman and her insatiable curiosity. Arachne is the story of the greatest weaver in the homeland of Lydia who, denying that her gifts came from the goddess Athena, was challenged to a competition with her. Inevitably, the woman failed and was about to end her life when the goddess turned her into a spider, spinning to all eternity.

Many stories deal with human frailties: arrogance, conceit, curiosity, greed, and the inevitable way that these humans anger the gods. The book includes two stories about King Midas, famed for his legendary golden touch, but also known for King Midas and the Music Contest in which the king sits on the panel to judge the best contestant. A delightful book which would make an excellent gift for story lovers of all ages.