I picked up this little gem at the used bookstore and I’m having troubles finding the other two volumes to purchase for a decent price. I don’t think they are in print anymore, and I certainly can’t find a picture of my cover (this cover is vol 2–mine has Medea with flying dragons).
The book contains eight short stories and is targeted to the younger reader– probably geared towards 5th or 6th graders.. Each section begins with a vocabulary overview and ends with “insights.” I read the first couple of stories aloud to Hubby during a recent road trip (short one) and had a lot of fun with them, although some of the stories are better than others.
Creation of Titans and Gods – The struggle of silly men for power. Ha ha!
Prometheus – Prometheus stole fire from Zeus to give to the young human race, but Zeus punished him for disobeying him.
Labors of Heracles – Heracles must perform 12 impossible tasks in order to gain forgiveness for his sins. While most of the labors are quickly brushed upon without really explaining why the tasks were supposed to be impossible or how Heracles went about completing them, some were a detailed a little more. One of these was the story of how Heracles persuaded Atlas to search for the Golden Apples. In return Heracles agreed to hold the heavens for Atlas. Atlas thought he could trick Heracles into holding the heavens forever, but Heracles asked Atlas to hold up the sky for a minute while he stretched his back. Atlas obliged and as soon as they made their trade, Heracles made a run for it.
Circe and Odysseus – a snippet from The Odyssey; the witch/goddess Circe turns Odysseus’s men into pigs
Aeneas’ Trip to Underworld – a snippet from Aeneid; Aeneas makes his famous journey to the Underworld where he encounters his family and the fallen soldiers from the Trojan war before making his way to Italy.
Follies of Midas – the greedy king who wishes for everything he touches to turn to gold.
Cupid and Psyche – the classic love story of true love and faith over beauty.
Jason and Golden Fleece – this, unfortunately, is the worst story of the bunch. I’m not sure if it was written by a different person (or really who wrote any of these adaptations), but it seemed as if this story was all over the place. There was a lot of focus on Medea, but perhaps there was simply too much information being crammed in 20 pages.
This was a great collection for intro to mythology. Hubby and I loved the Insights sections where we learned things like why Atlas is pictured as holding the earth, not the sky (because Greeks finally decided the sky was not going to fall afterall and didn’t need holding up). If anyone has another good mythology collection they’d like to recommend, I’m all ears!