Greek Mythology :
Prof Janice Antczak
After reading The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus , my first reaction was that it was a wonderful and fascinating example of how Greek mythology explains the theories about life , death and the wonders of nature . Although I enjoyed the book , I also wondered if it was a little too confusing to a young child…since many long Greek names were used and many characters interacting together became too complicated and involved.
The story began with the creation of the earth, sky, all living things and with the birth of the Gods and Goddesses that reigned on Mount Olympus . The author also took each of the twelve gods and goddesses and individually summarized their personality and duties and their purpose and connection to the world . The author who also illustrated the book , used brilliant and vibrant colors and also portrayed the personality visually by scenes and images that clearly showed the emotional side of the gods .
This myth contained some violence, sinister and inappropriate behavior among the gods and cruel and even frightening illustrations that I thought might be too overwhelming for a young impressionable mind . An example of this would be when Cronus married his sister Rhea and they had many children . But Cronus was afraid that one of them might overthrow him just as he had overthrown his father . So as each child was born , he swallowed it .Although Cronus eventually throws up the unharmed children in the end, I feel the initial reaction might be more lasting as well as the fact that Cronus married his sister which is an unacceptable taboo in society. There were other strong images conveyed both verbally and visually dealing with death, jealousy, deceit and deformities of man and beast . Although I enjoyed this book , I felt it should be read to an older audience that will not be negatively impressed by some parts of the story.
Tall Tale : Kellogg Steven, Sally Ann Thunder, Ann Whirlwind Crockett , Morrow Junior Books , 1995
In this tale, author Steven Kellogg depicts the incredible story of a girl named Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind who has an amazing amount of strength, vitality and agility and who sets off for the frontier at age eight. She lived with the animals and loved her life in the wilderness until one day she meets a stranger in the woods that needs her help . It is Davy Crockett , the most famous woodsman in America. They fall in love and marry, but the amazing feats of strength and courage fill her daily life and continue to surprise the town folk in this nineteenth century tale.
My first reaction to this tall tale was that it was funny, light and had a lot of vitality . The plot was simple for children to follow and had only one main character which would let the children focus on the cumulative events that happened to this character and how the story leads to its climax.
I definitely got the feeling that I was looking at a nineteenth century story by the author’s illustration and colors used. Earth tones of brown, yellow, green and blue set the stage for an early American atmosphere. This tale , portrayed in a humorous way, showed how the rugged heroines of long ago dealt with the hardships and dangers of frontier life. I feel young children will like this book and enjoy its funny and whimsical dialogue and illustrations and perhaps get a comical glimpse of life on the frontier of long ago.
Folktale : Aardema Verna . Why Mosquitoes Buzz in peoples Ears, Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, Dial Press, 1975
I found this African folktale to be a delightfully imaginative and entertaining tale that has a simple lesson that young children would be able to understand and relate to . The tale begins with a mosquito that tells a tall tale (lie) to an iguana . This sets off a chain reaction that ends in a terrible disaster involving the death of a baby owl and a mother owl that reacts to this disaster by refusing to hoot and wake the sun the next morning . As the talking jungle animals tried to pinpoint who was the cause of this terrible accident, a sequence of events recounts back to the origin and eventually the mosquito is incriminated.
This is a cumulative tale which used repetition, accumulation and rhythm to make an interesting and appealing story for young children .This folk tale teaches the most basic lesson that you should never lie or there will be serious consequences as a result . In the end, the mosquito would not admit to his lies and therefore as a result he had a guilty conscience thereafter . In the last paragraph the author ties the entire story together by saying that because the mosquito has a guilty conscience he always goes around whining in people's ears asking…zeee !
Is everyone still angry at me? and that is the reason why mosquitoes buzz in people's ears . The illustrations were colorful, bold and gave the reader the feeling and flavor of an African jungle . The only part I thought was sad was when the baby owl died and I thought it brought a solemn note to an otherwise entertaining and creative folktale . The author also uses certain words three times whenever describing the sounds of the animals or an important emotion to be emphasized . An example of this is when the monkey flew into the forest crying kaa, kaa ,kaa! When expressing the sadness of the mother owl the author repeated the words "so sad , so sad and so sad!" I felt this book would be enjoyed by a young audience and would teach a valuable lesson about the importance of truth as well as being a fun and entertaining edition to a school or home library.
Fable : Jones , Carol. Town Mouse Country Mouse , Houghton Mifflin Co. - 1995
The Town Mouse Country Mouse was an adorable fable that I felt was excellent for young children . The basic and simple story begins with two cousins , Town Mouse and Country Mouse who decide to visit one another’s homes . Town Mouse has unrealistic expectations about life in the country and soon he is out of place in an environment filled with unusual sights, sounds , and dangers . He begins to long for his familiar world in town and heads back home along with his country cousin who longs for a glimpse at city life . Country Mouse discovers also that he is happier in his own familiar world and both realize that there's no place like home.
This story would be very easily understood and enjoyed by small children. The two main characters have a simple plot and dialogue however , it is very descriptive which gave me the feeling of being there and going through each encounter that the mice did. The timeless fable also teaches a very moralistic lesson of how people can falsely believe the grass is always greener on the other side.
The author who also illustrated the book created cut out peep holes through the pages in order to see future happenings which added a different dimension and creativity to the book . I thought the illustrations were cozy and charming and certainly gave the reader the feeling of being in the country and the city. The Town Mouse Country Mouse had a touch of humor and warmth that would delight any age group and both children and adults can relate to its wise message and moralistic lesson for generations to come .
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