Grade 4–6—This visually appealing introduction to the Parthenon also explores the intriguing historical and societal factors that played key roles in its creation. The first half sets the stage, describing the rise of Athens in clear and lively prose. After Pericles convinces the citizens to build a new temple for Athena, the narrative's focus shifts to the actual construction. Full-color paintings show the components of the building with just enough detail. An impressive four-page foldout spread conveys the majesty of the temple and identifies neatly labeled specific components. The illustrations are nicely complemented by black-and-white photographs of some of the temple's remaining sculptures. Descriptions of the architectural challenges presented by the project and of the final artistic accomplishments are very effective. Beyond the architectural information, the author conveys the wide-ranging significance of the building. The Parthenon was an integral part of the city's religion, culture, politics, and even finances, and bringing out these impacts provides readers with a strong feel for the golden age of Athens.—Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR
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From the Wonders of the World Books series, this informative volume introduces the history of ancient Athens culminating in the building of the Parthenon. Constructed in 15 years under the leadership of Pericles and completed in 432 BCE, the structure honored Athena, whose previous temple on the Acropolis had been destroyed during the Persian Wars. The well-researched and clearly written text discusses Athenian history and culture and the engineering techniques that made the building of the Parthenon possible, the artistic knowledge and sensibility that made the temple beautiful, and the human effort that made it an apt expression of the Greeks' democracy as well as their religious beliefs. The color illustrations include an excellent map of Greece, photos of artifacts and sculptures, and many clearly delineated, large-scale paintings depicting the scenes from ancient Athens and the building of the Acropolis, including an impressive double-wide foldout spread of the temple under construction and its surroundings. A short glossary and a bibliography are appended. Carolyn Phelan
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