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D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths

Last updated Thursday, March 24, 2011

Author: Ingri and Edgar D'Aulaire
Date of Publication: 1992
ISBN: 0440406943
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2011

Synopsis: Review: Amazon.com

No education is complete without a large slice of Greek mythology. And there's no better way of meeting that literary quota than with the D'Aulaires' book. All the great gods and goddesses of ancient Greece are depicted in this big, beautiful classic, lovingly illustrated and skillfully told. Young readers will be dazzled by mighty Zeus, lord of the universe; stirred by elegant Athena, goddess of wisdom; intimidated by powerful Hera, queen of Olympus; and chilled by moody Poseidon, ruler of the sea. These often impetuous immortals flounce and frolic, get indiscreet, and get even. From petty squabbles to heroic deeds, their actions cover the range of godly--and mortal--personalities.

Note to readers:
•  On the 4th page of the book there is a family tree with all the names of the gods, linked by their fathers names' and pictures.
•  Gaea, the Mother earth goddess, is pronounced "jee-uh", with emphasis on the 1st syllable. For other names that are hard to pronounce, feel free to model for the kids how you can just settle on pronunciations and not worry much about pronouncing them correctly.
•  Readers are encouraged to read the first pages through pg. 23, then turn back to the table of contents and ask which gods' stories they would like to hear next. Feel free to read them in order, too. If the kids get bored with gods, then the following pages have interesting stories they may like:
pp. 70 – 75, "Minor Gods…", "Prometheus", "Pandora". pp. 124-127, "King Midas" & "Sisyphus". pp. 148 -156, "Theseus". pp. 178-184, "The Apples of Love & the Apple of Dischord".
•  The Romans adopted the Greek gods as their own, though gave them different names. For example, Zeus=Jupiter, Poseidon=Neptune, Aphrodite=Venus, Hades=Pluto, Ares=Mars, etc.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you know about Greeks or Greek mythology?
•  Do you know where Greece is? (there should be a map of the Mediterranean or a globe in the classroom)
•  Have you every heard of Zeus, Poseidon or Aphrodite? What do you know about them? Have you ever heard of Mt. Olympus?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  As we read the stories, watch for names of gods that are also English words (e.g. Iris is the name of a goddess and the colored parts of our eyes). Also, watch for explanations of natural events (e.g. the monster Typhon is trapped under Mt. Aetna, which is an active volcano).
•  Are there any stories you have heard that have similarities to the Greek myths we are reading?
•  Do any of the Greek Gods, creatures or stories show up in movies or video games you know?
•  Are these myths similar to soap operas or reality tv shows?
•  Which god or human would you most like to be? Which are you most like?
•  What is different about the Greek Gods and myths and other gods or myths you know? (e.g. the Greek gods are immortal (even when swallowed by their father), but most of the Norse Gods can and will die. The Greek gods look like people, whereas other gods often look like monsters.

Craft ideas:
•  Make a holiday ornament of a Greek god. Draw and color one of the characters from the book. Cut the figure out and attach an ornament hook.
•  Draw any scene from the Greek myths you read today. Or, create your own Greek myth from the Greek Gods you read about today, or draw a scene from your myth.
•  Create a movie poster for a movie version of a myth you read today. What actors and actresses would you have play the gods and characters in the myth?
•  Draw a modern-day version of one of the gods, e.g. Aphrodite as a super-model on a magazine cover.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!