"The purpose of this book is to facilitate the selection of elementary-school-level books on ancient Greek and Roman mythology." The annotations cover 381 books, published from the mid-nineteenth century through 1992, which are useful for presenting the classical world to children in grades 4 to 8. Three-quarters of the books listed were published before 1980 and are likely to be out of print.
Three scholarly essays enhance the book's usefulness. The preface focuses on the importance of children studying mythology. The other two are "History of Children's Books on Greek and Roman Mythology in the U.S." and "The Retelling of Myths to Children: Methodologies." There is an index to the introductory material plus indexes by title, illustrator, publication date, myth, and subject.
Arranged alphabetically by author, "[e]ach book has been reviewed with critical rather than descriptive annotations." For example, the annotations for Evslin's retelling of myths in the Monsters of Mythology series (Chelsea House) and Hawthorne's A Wonder Book/Tanglewood Tales discuss how these versions differ from ancient sources. The book includes discussions of such well-used books as Bulfinch's Mythology, Coolidge's Greek Myths, Cox's Magic and the Sword, D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths, Elgin's First Book of Mythology, Richardson's series for Troll Associates, and Serraillier's books. Switzer's Greek Myths (1988) is not listed. The appropriate grade level is noted for each title.
Although the age of most of the titles listed means that this book will not be very useful for collection development, it will be helpful as a weeding tool. The essays should be shared with both teachers and students.
This reference begins with chapters on the history of children's books on classical mythology in the United States, and then presents an annotated bibliography of appropriate titles for children.