The girls have been very into the D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, which Sarah got out of the library in hardback duplicate. A little greedy, maybe, but the girls were so excited about it initially that they each wanted a copy to read in bed. We’ve read through the whole thing and now at bedtime they’re taking turns each selecting a favorite story or two to read again. Great, gruesome stuff. Last night I read about Cronus devouring each of his first five children (Poseidon, Hades, Hera, Demeter and Hestia) out of fear they would overthrow him. You can see the little babies glowing in his stomach — the drawings are wonderful, rather light and playful, sometimes with a touch of William Blake Songs of Innocence about them. Cronus’s wife Rhea then tricks him and gives him a rock swaddled in baby blankets, and so the infant Zeus survives. I think the girls relate to the Greek gods in their playfulness, tricks and plots, and perhaps also the occasional rage and fury. They especially love the story of the baby Hermes tricking his big brother Apollo by stealing Apollo’s cows. We all found the image of Apollo chasing him, while Hermes calls out “I’m just an innocent little babe!” or some such, hilarious. They also especially liked the illustration of Pandora releasing the demons & imps from her box. Very relatable for a 6-year-old.
I remember reading this book as a kid as well. The D’Aulaires do a great job of making the stories accessible and appropriate for childen without bowdlerizing to excess.
I wonder how many Classicists were turned on to Greek mythology from it?