Reviews for Treasury of Greek Mythology : Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters

Booklist Reviews 2011 December #1
This large, opulent-looking volume introduces 25 major figures in Greek mythology. A typical entry opens with a dramatic, double-page illustration and continues with four pages that include descriptive and narrative text, a large illustration, a sidebar, a decorative border, and plenty of white space. The informative sidebars are illustrated with small photos, digital images, and reproductions of period art and artifacts. With so many figures to introduce in a limited space, powerful stories sometimes feel overly summarized. Still, Napoli writes in a lively, often colorful style, sparked by such comments as, "Wickedness deserves to crawl through the slime." Balit's illustrations feature formal design, brilliant colors, stylized figures, and repeated shapes. The poster-like, double-page pictures are particularly strong. Rounding out the compendium, the excellent back matter includes a map of Greece, a timeline, an annotated, illustrated "cast of characters," a bibliographic note, and lists of recommended books and websites. A fine addition to mythology collections. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Napoli follows Greek mythology's evolution from its creation story and elemental early deities to the psychologically resonant lives of later heroes. Her language is animated and thoughtful, her characters fully equipped with histories and emotions that propel their behavior. Twenty-five deities and mortals get full chapters that include Balit's gloriously star-spangled double page spread portraits--boldly expressive, large-eyed, muscled figures in a handsome saturated palette. Reading list, timeline, websites. Bib., ind.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #1
With a scholar's grasp of both its religious and its human meaning, Napoli follows Greek mythology's evolution from its creation story and elemental early deities to the psychologically resonant lives of heroes such as Theseus. An impeccable bibliographic note lists sources, from the iconic Hesiod and Homer to the Roman Ovid and modern Edith Hamilton; where these differ, the author chose the earliest versions (thus Helios, not Apollo, is the sun god here). Scholarship never intrudes, however; Napoli's language is as animated as it is thoughtful, her characters fully equipped with histories and emotions that propel their behavior. An invitingly informal narrative (betrayed by Zeus, "Hera went ballistic") is laced with lyrical passages (moon goddess Selene: "silver sweet, and soft, and sad") and enlivened with authorial asides ("How Jason could have thought Medea was a person one could cross is hard to fathom"). From earth mother Gaia to Helen of Troy, twenty-five deities and mortals get full chapters that include Balit's gloriously star-spangled double-page-spread portraits -- boldly expressive, large-eyed, muscled figures in a handsome saturated palette: clever Hephaestus in the wheelchair he invented; barefoot Aphrodite, a symphony of drapery and curves. Vignettes decorate other pages, while captions extend stories, note parallels in other cultures, or comment on related science or history. Back matter includes maps; a timeline; a well-organized summary of the main characters; books and websites for youn[Tue May 3 20:06:52 2016] Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\ line 249. g people; and an index. Lively and authentic, an excellent addition to the canon. joanna rudge long

Kirkus Reviews 2011 September #2

Oft-told tales retold with uncommon verve and outfitted with resplendent Art Deco–style portraits.

Napoli opens with the rise of the "mother force" Gaia to bring order to the whirling elements of Chaos and closes with the devastation of the Trojan War ("the doing of gods with too much time on their hands"). In between, she introduces over two dozen immortals and heroes—including Hestia, Helios and Selene among the better-known Olympians and their mortal offspring. While somehow managing to keep all the sex inexplicit (Aphrodite is born, for instance, from the "foam" produced by an unspecified body part ripped from her father Uranus), she lays out clear family lines. She pays close attention to her narrative's tone and sound, capturing the nature of each god or mortal with vivid turns of phrase: Peaceable Hestia considers Zeus a "frightful maniac," Orion grows up to become "an insufferably pompous nitwit" and Selene is left to pine, "silver sweet, and soft, and sad," for her eternally sleeping lover, Endymion. Applying rippling strokes of intense color, Balit opens with a shimmering family tree of Olympians, heads each chapter with a stylized full-body image of a mythological figure with associated emblems and symbols and also contributes interior illustrations and thumbnail portraits for the closing summary cast list.

Superb versions for reading alone or for sharing with audiences large or small. (source note, lists of recommended print and Web resources) (Mythology. 10-14)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 October #4

Napoli brings new life to the familiar stories of Greek mythology in this intimate compilation, telling each tale with grace, clarity, and emotion. When Demeter mourns her missing daughter, "Her cheeks grew hollow, her body gaunt. Greens turned brown.... Hunger twisted the innards of every living creature." Through the brief but vivid retellings, readers will better understand such figures as Apollo, Ares, Dionysus, and Helen, while sidebars contextualize the stories. Balit's majestic and sinuous spreads mimic the drama and passion of the legends. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 October

Gr 5-9--Wise, witty, and thoroughly entrancing, this august collection is ideal for those who want more from their mythology. Beginning with the beginning ("Gaia: Mother Earth" and "Uranus: Father Heaven"), Napoli presents 25 tales introducing the major players of the Greek pantheon along with an assortment of celebrated heroes and mortals (including Perseus, Heracles, Jason, and Helen). At once eloquent and elemental, these lyrically written portraits deftly detail each character's origins, realm of power, and legendary story lines. Filled with sensual imagery, the language is poetic, yet balanced by amusing asides and wry observations that add a contemporary, almost conversational accessibility. The accounts gloriously regale the familiar adventures of these deities and champions, while imbuing them with personality. For example, Hades, "spitting mad" at being confined in Cronus's belly, bursts out ready and willing to take on the Titans: "roaring into war beside his siblings felt natural--like butter on a burn--it felt fat and rich and right." Again and again, Napoli encourages readers to trawl these tales for greater truths: Theseus is portrayed not only as a monster-slaying hero, but also as a man who gradually gains the wisdom needed to become a just ruler. Stunning stylized paintings featuring luminous colors, rich patterns, and star-infused motifs add depth and drama to the text. Full-spread images introduce the characters, incorporating their iconic symbols and details of their dominions, while smaller insets provide glimpses of the action. Interesting sidebars appear throughout, providing historical, scientific, and cultural information. A must-have for most collections.--Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal

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