Young readers won’t realize they’re actually absorbing enough information to give them a head start in any school’s Greek mythology unit while reading this fun and educational book.
Readers first are introduced to Mount Olympus and each of the different characters that will be found throughout the book, including what they are most known for. This gives the reader a nice section to flip back to if they forget who someone is, as there are a lot of characters involved and some have tricky names. The book is organized into seven sections with a glossary at the end, a select bibliography for those who want to read even deeper into Greek mythology, and a little about the author and illustrator.
The book goes through Athena’s life chronologically with vivid images and descriptions of how she was born, the chaos and trouble she caused, and conflicts she had with other Gods and mortals. Many other Gods and notables are featured, such as Poseidon, Medusa, Perseus, and Zeus. The most famous of stories are included, like the Trojan Horse, Odysseus’s adventures, and the story of Arachne, the weaver who was turned into a spider.
This is truly a wonderful, funny, and light look at Greek mythology. Yet, it has enough depth to provide readers with as much information about demigods, notable mortals, gods, and goddesses as any non-fiction children’s book on the topic. Author Imogen Greenberg and illustrator Isabel Greenberg are a London based pair who’s styles work seamlessly together. The artwork is colorful. Dramatic purples and blues are used to create swirling seas around Poseidon, bright oranges are used around Athena to show her anger, and pages are kept simple when explanations are given. Pages feature large panels, some spanning two whole pages, with dialogue and text found in an understandable flow.
Overall, this is a well done adaptation of Greek mythology into an enjoyable comic. It would be a great recommendation for students who are studying Greek mythology at school and are looking for a fun read, or for children who are fans of Rick Riordan’s novels. It gives a balanced view of Athena by including her strengths, weaknesses, and mistakes that she made along the way. She may have been a Goddess, but this book makes it clear to the reader that no one is perfect. Anyone can make a bad decision. It is very age appropriate, as the stories have been tailored to omit some details, such as why Medusa was turned into a gorgon, without it feeling like there is anything missing from explanations. Any children’s collection would benefit from this addition.
Athena: Goddess of Wisdom and War (Tales of Great Goddesses)
By Imogen Greenberg
Art by Isabel Greenberg
Amulet Books, 2021
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11), Tween (10-13)