Written by Michelle M. Houle
Illustrated by William Sauts Bock
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A different take on the Greek myths. This book supplements Greek myths with history, archaeology, and psychology for an interesting explanation of many common stories. The well-known story of Prometheus bringing fire to humans is told with more detail. The fire incident was not his only intervention between the gods and humans, thus making Zeus’s punishment a little more understandable. Each chapter has a section of “Expert Commentary.” In the chapter on Prometheus, the experts emphasize how much Prometheus has inspired people as humankind’s best and earliest benefactor. The preface includes useful information about Greek culture and religion. By showing how the myths played a part in a Greek’s everyday life, their approach to festivals and worship is clarified for modern-day readers. Other stories include a creation story, the Titans, Pandora, Demeter and Persephone, Dionysus and his followers, Baucis and Philemon, Echo and Narcissus, and Helius and Phaethon. Special features include a chart of the gods and goddesses, a map of the ancient Greek world, a question and answer section for each story, a glossary, chapter notes, further reading, internet sites and an index.
For students who can’t get enough mythology, this gives them more than simply a collection of stories. The illustrations give it a graphic novel look. Yet, it has a rather scholarly tone, so the recommended level of 6th grade and higher is accurate. The publisher’s website provides a reading level of 7.8 so it could even appeal to high school students taking world history. The question and answer section could provide a literacy activity but, since the answers are given, the questions would need to be used in a discussion or retyped into a reading worksheet. With all the history that is included, a book trailer or PowerPoint would be a fun way to approach reports.
- TITLE: Gods and Goddesses in Greek Mythology Rock!
- AUTHOR: Michelle M. Houle
- ILLUSTRATOR: William Sauts Bock
- PUBLISHER: Enslow, 2012
- REVIEWER: Risa Brown
- FORMAT: Paperback, 128 pages
- ISBN: 978-1-59845-329-4
- GENRE: Mythology, Classics, Ancient Greece
- LEXILE: 1130, Reading level 7.8
Written by L.L. Samson
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A mysterious fire threatens a boarding school. Heroic young people rescue the gruff and intimidating headmistress. There is a secret passageway. All this is in chapter one of an adventure story that combines classic literature with a modern mystery. Linus and Ophelia are teen-agers who have been left with their elderly aunt and uncle who own a bookstore while their scientist parents are on a tropical island carrying out their research. It is a miserably hot summer, the stuffy and academic narrator tells us. Bartholomew Inkster cannot tell this story without injecting bits of literary devices, Linus and Ophelia’s history along with background on the literary works they explore. Linus has discovered writings from an ancestor who tells how to bring literary characters to life. In this episode, they bring D’Artagnan and the evil Lady DeWinter to life while trying to solve a real life mystery of who wants to destroy their best friend Walter’s school. But D’Artagnan and Milady are more of a headache than a solution. And Bartholomew keeps putting in his two cents.
Written with humor and a respect for the classics, Bartholomew manages to entertain and provide descriptions of literary devices. The story could be a way to develop a guide for writing. Because the voice is so strong – think a snarky Lemony Snicket – and the characters are so eccentric, this would make a good class read aloud for sixth graders. Even better let them read it to a book buddy as a literacy activity. The students could make several lists, any one of them would be a good reading worksheet: the literary devices, story details from The Three Musketeers, even the instructions on how to make literary characters come to life. There is a great book trailer for the first book in the series on the author’s website: http://llsamson.blogspot.com/. With the commercially-made book trailer as a model, students could make their own trailer for this installment. There is a lot of action, and the story problem is maintained throughout. Not everything seems logical, and the real life villain escapes. We never do meet the three Musketeers as promised on the cover. Still the adventure is a lot of fun.
- TITLE: The Enchanted Attic: Dueling with the Three Musketeers
- AUTHOR: L. L. Samson
- PUBLISHER: Zonderkidz, 2013
- REVIEWER: Risa Brown
- FORMAT: Paperback, 166 pages
- ISBN: 978-0-310-72799-6
- GENRE: Adventure
- LEXILE: 1130, Reading level 6.2