Treasury of Greek Mythology – Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes and Monsters
By Donna Jo Napoli, Illustrated by Christina Balit
National Geographic Children’s Books
National Geographic Kids Ultimate Weird but True
National Geographic Children’s Books
National Geographic has been a staple in my house since I was little. The magazines with the yellow border would arrive, and instantly, I’d be transported back in time, or half way around the world. I could explore the depths of the Amazon jungle, visit King Tut’s tomb or make my way through deep, dark caves amazed at the wonders of our world.
As a teacher, I’m always happy to add National Geographic books to my classroom library, because the content is interesting, the pictures and illustrations are amazing, and, best of all, they have a fantastic assortment of titles that can encourage even the most reluctant reader to pick up a book and read!
Two recent additions to my bookshelf are Treasury of Greek Mythology – Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes and Monsters, by Donna Jo Napoli and illustrated by Christina Balit, and National Geographic Kids Ultimate Weird but True.
Treasury of Greek Mythology is a fantastic book for any child who loves mythology because it tells the stories of the main gods and goddess that children hear about, but it also journeys back further, to the beginnings of life as we know it, mythologically speaking. The stories woven by Napoli show us how the Ancient Greeks believed that as different as the gods and goddesses were from them, they also had many human qualities that made trusting in their wisdom a reality for hundreds of years.
The vibrant illustrations running across the pages are not only beautiful, but incorporate unique characteristics of the gods, goddesses, heroes and monsters that are encountered in the book. The book itself combines pictures of pottery fragments, ancient coins, statues, paintings, science concepts and many other features that make it more than just a book about Greek gods and goddesses. It ends with several maps, a quick summary of each person or monster presented in the book, an index, and a list of other resources including a complete bibliography, additional books, and websites for anyone interested in learning more about Greek mythology.
The second book, National Geographic Ultimate Weird but True, hasn’t made it to my classroom yet, because my nine year old daughter has laid claim to it. Ellie is a huge fan of this style of book and can’t get enough of this one! She’s not the kind of kid who will sit and read a novel from cover to cover, but if you give her a book about anything strange, she won’t put it down until she’s read the whole thing! For anyone who has a child who likes anything gross or odd or completely out of the ordinary, I strongly suggest picking this one up. When she said she wanted to tell me about what she read, I figured she’d tell me all about the pictures in the book. Instead, I was happily surprised (ok, shocked!) to see that she’d read almost the entire 180+ page book!!! The facts are crazy – did you know that a blue whale is almost as loud as a jet engine, but a 2-inch pistol shrimp is even louder than a blue whale? Me either, but Ellie was pretty happy to share that tidbit with me. The information found in the book is exceptionally kid-friendly with the entire book broken down into nine chapters that cover everything from amazing animals to storms to outer space to a car that can be driven under water or on land to the wackiest restaurants in the world! Seriously, what kid wouldn’t find the facts on these pages fascinating? If you’re ever looking for a book to add to your child’s school library, I highly recommend this – although you might have to wish the librarian good luck keeping it on the shelf.
Too often, teachers and parents alike get it into their heads that kids need to read novels. While I do agree with this to a point, if kids aren’t introduced to books that they enjoy, then we are losing the battle. These books, and so many other National Geographic titles not only get kids reading, they give them a unique opportunity to share what they’re reading in short bursts. As parents, it’s our job to encourage our children to love all kinds of books, and these two are winners, in my book!
* We did not receive monetary compensation for this review. That’s IT Mommy received these titles from PR/National Geographic free of charge to facilitate this reviewThe review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your results and opinions may differ.