Teaching My Baby To Read

Greek Myths For Children

A Round-Up

My husband and I have been reading Greek myths to our son Bruce since he was three and a half years old. Accordingly, Bruce is now very well versed in Greek mythology, (although my husband admits he was a bit too heavy handed in the telling of Icarus.) Many of these books fit in nicely with my SLE inspired reading list, but not all of them are worth purchasing. So for the first time ever, I’m using a thumbs up, thumbs down way to review them.

Here are the Learning Goals for my SLE Inspired Reading List:

  • Understand that people from other countries, cultures and religious traditions might have different core beliefs and thoughts about the world than we do.
  • Identify, explore and evaluate those beliefs, and consider how they influence action and practice.
  • Become well versed in Greek mythology, and understand the connection between ancient stories and the Western values we prize today in the modern world.

Here are the values I would like Bruce to take away from reading Greek Myths

  • Think carefully about the consequences of the promises you make.
  • Be careful about bragging and boasting.
  • Gold, fame, adventure, beauty… none of those things mean as much as your home and family.

The McElderly Book of Greek Myths by Eric A. Kimmel

This is one of the first Greek myths books I bought. The illustrations are beautiful, and it’s not too scary. We started reading this to Bruce at around three and a half. By that point, I was so sick of reading kiddie books that I wanted something interesting!

Favorite Greek Myths by Mary Pope Osborne

I love Mary Pope Osborne and all of her Magic Tree House series as well as One World Many Religions. But I was not very impressed with Favorite Greek Myths. For one thing, she uses the Roman names in all of the myths. What’s up with that? Why would you title a book “Favorite Greek Myths” and then use the Roman names throughout?

Osborne also crams every single minor deity into each story. So in “The Kidnaping: The Story of Ceres and Proserpina”, she also works in Mercury. In “Lost at Sea: The Story of Ceyx and Alcyone”, she also includes the god Sleep, his son Morpheus, and Iris. This gets really complicated and confusing. Other Greek myths we have read are a lot easier to follow.

On the plus side, this book has beautiful illustrations by Troy Howell. They are in an Art Nouveau style, reminiscent of Alphonse Mucha.

The Adventures of Odysseus by Hugh Lupton

Can I give this two thumbs up? 🙂 It’s my favorite!

In what can only be an homage to one of my favorite teachers, Mrs. Dawson from La Jolla High School, some of my favorite stories to share with Bruce come from the Odyssey, which I read in ninth grade. Bruce learned about the adventures of Odysseus at three and a half, when we first took him to a Greek restaurant. That night I tried to tell him as many Odysseus stories as I could remember, and we later purchased several to help us out. This one, by Hugh Lupton, is one of our favorites.

A word of caution however… We loved this book so much that we gave it to one of Bruce’s friends for his fifth birthday. This boy thought the book was too scary. So use your own judgment on what you think your child can handle, or just skip the scary parts.

 D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths

Bruce and I are still reading this one, but it is really good so far. I’ll post a review soon.

“Greek Myths by Jim Weiss” Audio CD

I haven’t listened to this yet, so I can’t give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down. However, my husband and Bruce really enjoyed listening to this cd on the way to a backpacking trip. My husband said it tells about some of the labours of Hercules, but in a kid friendly way. Instead of Hercules doing penance for killing his six sons (eek!), he “did something bad to another man”. Okay, we’ll go with that.

Bruce and I will be listening to the cd again on the way to school this fall, and I will update my review. In the meantime, we’ve all had enough Greek myths for a while, and are ready to listen to something else. Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World Volume 2 audio CDs are coming any day now, and we are really excited to embark on that.


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