Monday, May 05, 2008

Wanted for Non Fiction Monday: More (!) Greek Myths

My son is like many young readers. He goes through reading obsessions. The first was sharks, which lasted a full year. Shark physiology is permanently imprinted on my brain. Did you know sharks don't have bones? How many sets of teeth do sharks have? What can you tell me about the cookie-cutter shark?

Since then we've read about snakes, airplanes (but not trains or other machines), stones and minerals (for me the worst of the lot), Star Wars, otters and other mammals. Now at 7 he's into the Greek myths.

Of all the Greek myth books, his favorite is the -ology one: Mythology. Why? It has a nice ratio of text to illustration and, most importantly, the pictures are realistic (as far as illustrations of Greek gods can be considered to be realistic). He wants his Greek gods and goddesses served up in grand faux-Baroque style. He can sit and read this one for hours.

He does like the classic D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, but the illustrations don't thrill him and there simply are not enough of them for a seven year old.

He loves Marcia Williams's informal story-telling style in Greek Myths, but doesn't appreciate the gods appearing as cartoons. For some reason this offends his sensibilities, though I think they're pretty cute.

This kid has fallen for audio books as seriously as he has for Greek gods and goddesses. He loves to listen and wander (especially outside) whenever he has the chance. It frees him from the couch and from being right next to me to listen to a story. On audio, he especially loves Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series and can't wait for The Battle of the Labyrinth along with the rest of the world.

Another great Greek myth audio selection is Mary Pope Osborne's Tales from the Odyssey which he listened to over the course of a weekend and multiple times since.

So on this non-fiction Monday (myths are filed in Non Fiction, after all), I come to you with the following question: Which book of Greek myths is your favorite for young readers and why?

I'd also make this comment to the publishing industry: Just because D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths is again in print doesn't mean we don't need more. Kids can't get enough of the Greek myths, especially if the illustrations can fit the tales. Might I suggest Paul O. Zelinsky? Who would you choose to illustrate the Greek myths? (Okay, I realize this is a second question.)