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The Mythology Handbook: A Course in Ancient Greek Myths Hardcover – March 10, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up—This follow-up to Mythology (Candlewick, 2007) again uses the voice of a fictional 19th-century scholar. Here, Lady Hestia Evans offers a guide to elements of Greek myth for her two children, providing information in "lessons" (e.g., "Life on Olympus" or "Religion in Ancient Greece") with exercises based on each topic. Some of the activities encourage students to do further research (look up Hesiod's "Heroic Age"), while others suggest that they draw new monsters, write hymns with the Muses' help, or design a new pentathlon for the Olympics. Mazes and a word search (using Greek letters) are also included. Unlike its predecessor, The Mythology Handbook does not have many pull-out parts, but a selection of stickers that will not circulate well is appended along with a small envelope containing a letter with a message written in Greek for youngsters to decode. More ambitious readers may have already picked up Edith Hamilton's Mythology, which offers far more in-depth versions of the selections touched on here. However, the activities are engaging, and the illustrations of creatures and maps of the ancient world will add to the knowledge of even more experienced myth fans. This is a worthwhile addition to libraries where the "ology" books circulate well, and for classrooms seeking activities to tie into mythology units.—Alana Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Dugald A. Steer, Editor: "With what trepidation I sat down to give my editorial attentions to what was clearly the masterwork of a very erudite man, should be obvious to all who read this book." So begins a letter, written in 1894, from Dugald Steer to an Oxford friend. The letter goes on to explain how a chance meeting with Dr. Ernest Drake at the BULL'S HEAD TAVERN in Dorking, Surrey, made him more than a little curious. Skeptical at first, he took up Dr. Drake's offer to meet him at his house and St. Leonard's Forest, and to attend one of the S.A.S.D. meetings in London. There, he became further involved in Dr. Drake's work, joining him on an expedition to Scotland to try and estimate the hunting range of the Dornoch Wyrm. As he writes, the trip was, "a cause of some emotion, as many of my relative, particularly the Ross branch, come from so near."
Douglas Carrel, Chief Draughtsman: A native of Scotland, Douglas Carrel was clearly a dragonologist of some standing, and often accompanied Dr. Drake on some of his more fruitful expeditions. In a letter from Constantinople to the editor he says, "It is with considerable sense of honour, and no small amount of pride, that I lend my hand to the compiling of this most worthy volume . . . Ultimately, I feel that all of us--within this privileged circle in particular--are duty-bound to preserve and perpetuate the love and lore of dragons."
Helen Ward, Scientific Artist: Helen Ward trained as an illustrator at Brighton School of Art, although it is not known exactly when she came into contact with Dr. Drake. However a quote from her autobiography makes some things clear: "As a child I dreamed of dragons. When age allowed, I traveled.Unfortunately, several expeditions to Europe and one to that part of Russia known as Finland specifically to capture the likeness of a live dragon have ended in failure. The creatures seemed deliberately elusive . . .. With the help of descriptions, notes, and detailed drawings made by others I have managed to illustrate these majestic creatures to the satisfaction of those more fortunate and better-informed dragonologists."
Wayne Anderson, Pictorial Artist: Interested in cryptozoology from an early age, Wayne Anderson first came into contact with S.A.S.D. at one of their meetings in Wyvern Way in London. It was after a couple of trips with Drake--to the Alps in 1878 and to Scotland in 1880--that Wayne realized his early dragon drawings were, in fact, more life-like than he could have realised. Like most of the other collaborators on DRAGONOLOGY, he has contributed to many other books for children. He enjoyed a fruitful collaboration with Helen Ward that resulted in books such as THE TIN FOREST and THE DRAGON MACHIINE.
Nghiem Ta, Artistic Direction: Dr. Drake met Nghiem Ta in the Fukien (now Fujian) Province of China where she was working in her grandfather's bookshop. Their shared interest in dragons became evident when he showed her a copy of the fabled DRAGON SUTRA of Hong Wei, which the monks of that monastery made for him as a gift. He asked Miss Ta if such a revered object could be bound into a book and was so impressed with her work that he later invited her to London to oversee the creation of DRAGONOLOGY.

by Clint Twist
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1080L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; First American Edition edition (March 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763642916
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763642914
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Maybe you've heard of Zeus and Hera, or perhaps you know them by their Roman names, Jupiter and Juno. But did you know that the king and queen of the gods were not the first beings, at least according to the ancient Greeks? First came the Titans...or was it that Time laid an egg that became the earth? There are actually a few common myths the Greeks told that explained creation. This guidebook, written by a 19th-century explorer for her children, will tell you both of those stories.

THE MYTHOLOGY HANDBOOK is divided into three sections. The first, "The Immortals," details the most important figures in ancient Greek mythology. There were, of course, the gods that lived on Mount Olympus. These gods, which included Zeus, Hera and Hermes, pretty much took care of everything for the people living on earth. Ancient Greeks could pray or sacrifice to a certain god that was especially adept at dealing with certain things, from weather to farming.

The first section of the handbook also gives quick, useful summaries of some of the most important non-gods and the stories about them. There's the story of Persephone, who accidentally became the Queen of the Dead. Her mother, Demeter, was so sad that Persephone had to live in the Underworld that she went to Zeus for help. Zeus decided that Persephone had to live there only four months out of the year, and the rest of the time she could leave. This is why there are four sad, harsh winter months in which Demeter mourns her daughter's absence, and earth becomes cold and unwelcoming to plants and flowers.

The next section, "Gods and Men," describes more essential stories of Greek mythology. If you ever thought you might want your own winged horse, think again --- there was only one man who was able to tame and ride Pegasus.
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This was such a hit at Christmas! My little guy took time out from new legos and remote control toys to read this book. Now he brings it to school everyday to share stories with his friends
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A Kid's Review on March 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
There are many interesting facts found throughout this book about the Greek gods, ancient Greece, Mount Olympus, and the religion in Greece during ancient times. The book was well written, but I would have liked to read a little bit more about thee Gods of ancient Greece. However, I did enjoy how the author put in little peices of information about the ancient Greek's everyday lives and religion. It was interesting to compare how two people were so different then from how people are now. Overall, this book was enjoyable.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm 34 and I purchased this book for me as well as my children. I never learned about mythology other than what was portrayed in movies and I wanted to teach myself as well as my children. Tho I still needed a book of stories to read first I found this book invaluable for helping to understand the stories and add details to the characters. Fun to read and beautifully illustrated. Quality made also, and made to look old. The whole family loves it.
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This book has great stories and even better illustrations. It's educational and best of all, not biased for or against Greek mythology. It gives a great basis for kids to reference when they hear about gods and heroes in books or movies. All in all, this is a great book to add to your kid's collection.
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My ten year old boy likes this book because it names all the greek gods. He likes the pictures but is not the best book he ever read. It wasn't written to capture a boy's interest.
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Another OLOGY book, but lacks the BANG of the others. This is the most lackluster of the OLOGY series so far. A bit disappointing if you have the others, but if it is your first OLOGY series book, you will love it. My seven year old LOVES Monterology and she was looking forward to this one. She was hoping for more hidden treasures and "relics" in this one.
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By Capn on November 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very nice book, extremely detailed and full of enriching information. However, remember there are many different variations of each of these and may not be the same as the one you grew up with. I love the packet of stickers at the end!
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