Mythology-themed books

The books recommended below were published within the last several years. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.

 

PICTURE BOOKS
Suggested grade level listed with each entry.

Young Zeus by G. Brian Karas (Scholastic)
Simple, colloquial language renders myth into farce, with cartoonlike characters ranging from the appealing boy god to his monstrous dad. An irreverent take on an ancient creation story. Grade level: K–3. 48 pages.

 

INTERMEDIATE
Suggested grade level for all entries: 4–6

Mythological Creatures: A Classical Bestiary by Lynn Curlee (Atheneum)
This eye-catching introduction to sixteen mythological creatures of ancient Greece describes the mythical beings and their roles in Greek lore. Curlee’s illustrations depict all as classically statuesque. 40 pages.

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman; illus. by Brett Helquist (HarperCollins)
Odd learns that a bear, fox, and eagle are really the Norse gods Thor, Loki, and Odin—transformed by a Frost Giant who has also blocked spring. The swift-moving narrative is complemented by angular illustrations evoking the wintry world. 118 pages.

Treasury of Greek Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters by Donna Jo Napoli; illus. by Christina Balit (National Geographic)
Napoli follows Greek mythology’s evolution from its creation story and elemental early deities to the lives of heroes such as Theseus. Twenty-five deities and mortals are featured in full chapters with star-spangled portraits. 192 pages.

Gifts from the Gods: Ancient Words & Wisdom from Greek & Roman Mythology by Lise Lunge-Larsen; illus. by Gareth Hinds (Houghton)
From Achilles’ heel to victory, the definitions of over one hundred modern English words are each followed by the myths from which they were derived, along with eloquent graphic novel–style art. 90 pages.

Encyclopedia Mythologia: Dragons & Monsters by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda (Candlewick)
Dragons and monsters are presented in six major categories with a glorious double-page pop-up for each. A series of foldout mini-books introduce readers to related creatures, while text acts as extended captions for the illustrations. 12 pages.

The Lost Hero [Heroes of Olympus] by Rick Riordan (Hyperion)
Camp Half-Blood has three new arrivals: Piper, daughter of Aphrodite; Leo, son of Hephaestus; and Jason, son of Zeus. A prophesied clash with Gaea’s youngest children, the giants, looms. 557 pages.

The Son of Neptune [Heroes of Olympus] by Rick Riordan (Disney-Hyperion)
Percy Jackson arrives at Camp Jupiter, the camp for half-blood children of the Roman gods, pursued by two gorgons who won’t stay dead when he kills them. With the help of campers Hazel and Frank, Percy must free the death god Thanatos from imprisonment. 521 pages.

The Red Pyramid [Kane Chronicles] by Rick Riordan (Hyperion)
In this fast-paced adventure, Carter and Sadie’s father, a magician and descendant of the pharaohs, disappears after accidentally summoning gods into the mortal world. The siblings begin to discover their own powers. 516 pages.

The Beautiful Stories of Life: Six Greek Myths retold by Cynthia Rylant; illus. by Carson Ellis (Harcourt)
Using a blend of storytelling and interpretation, Rylant presents six myths; an authoritative narrator directs readers’ sense of the tales’ meanings. Soft pencil drawings bedeck this elegant little book. 73 pages.

 

OLDER READERS
Suggested grade level listed with each entry.

The Odyssey adapted and illus. by Gareth Hinds (Candlewick)
Hinds retells Homer’s epic in pictures plus a judicious minimum of words. The brief text makes an accessible complement to the dramatic art that explicates and interprets the story. Grade level: 7 and up. 252 pages.

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Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, assistant editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College.

Comments

  1. Ellen Reagan says:

    I’d add Anne Ursu’s Cronus Chonicles trilogy to the list!

  2. Also, Tracy Barrett’s Dark of the Moon and Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed!

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  2. [...] for mythology buffs January 20, 2012 By Katie Bircher Leave a Comment We’ve just put up a list of recommended mythology-related books, published and reviewed in the Magazine in the last few years. Enjoy! /* Filed Under: Out of [...]

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