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Mythological Creatures: A Classical Bestiary Hardcover – March 4, 2008
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3–6—Centaurs, Gryphons, and Harpies share the pages of this who's who of ancient Greek figures like Argus, the watchman with 100 eyes; the three-headed dog Cerberus; and Polyphemus, the Cyclops of Homer's Odyssey. Snippets of stories about Jason and Medea, Theseus and Ariadne, and other well-known characters will give readers tantalizing glimpses of the more intricate tales that await them. Although the title makes it clear that the book is about creatures of mythology, the section on Gryphons is slightly confusing in the way that it implies these half-lion, half-eagle beings did indeed exist in the natural world. Curlee's language is descriptive and lyrical. Combining formal, stylized images with touches of realism, the full-color acrylic paintings depict these characters with dramatic flair. Details mentioned in the text are often incorporated into the artwork, further enhancing the book's impact. This bestiary would be a good companion to Kate McMullan's "Myth-O-Mania" series, could pave the way for Rick Riordan's "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" books (both Hyperion), and whet appetites for further explorations of Greek mythology.—Farida S. Dowler, Mercer Island Library, WA
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Curlee, author-illustrator of Brooklyn Bridge (2001) and other books about natural and technological marvels, here compiles a bestiary featuring fearsome and wondrous beings from Greek mythology—among them, Pegasus, gryphons, and harpies, as well as half-human–half-animal creatures, such as Pan and the Minotaur. Each creature receives a full-page of text opposite and a bordered, full-page acrylic painting. Curlee’s illustrations have a sculptural, almost monumental feel, with his subjects appearing solid, even weighty. The palette is rich but subtle, with deep purples, golds, rusts, and greens. The information is minimal, and although the preface and epilogue provide some cultural context for the tales, several stories, including Orpheus and Euridyce and the Golden Fleece, are sharply abbreviated. The writing is marred by the occasional awkward phrase, but this handsome book will still serve a wide audience, which will be attracted by both the subject and the design. Grades 4-8. --Janice Del Negro
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