Friday, February 19, 2010

The Olympics and Mt. Olympus

As you know, I have been thinking about and watching the Olympics. That's why world peace and cupcakes were on my mind the other night... but I digress. The Olympics combined with the theatrical release of Percy Jackson Lightning Thief brought another book to mind, "Young Zeus."

“Young Zeus”
By G. Brian Karas
For ages 4 – 9
• A playful story about Zeus’ childhood leading up to his ascension to the crown. Fans of Greek mythology, “Percy Jackson,” and homeschoolers will find it entertaining and educational. Rated 3.5 (humor, adventure, some dark subject matter)

Are you interested in how things begin? Brian Karas is, which is why he decided to write about young Zeus. The story of how Zeus’ mom hid baby Zeus on the island of Crete, in the care of the enchanted goat, Amaltheia, has been told before. However, there isn’t much written about what happened between being a baby and Zeus taking the throne of the gods.

“Young Zeus” is Karas’ take on Zeus’ childhood leading up to and including overthrowing his father, Cronus, and freeing his brothers and sisters. Unlike most accounts of Zeus, this story presents him as a likeable young boy who just wants to “play with his brothers and sisters,” something to which many kids can releate.

Upon being rescued, Zeus’ brothers and sisters begin arguing about who should take over, but it is Zeus who uses his brain to banish the remaining titans from Mount Olympus and thus earn the leadership position — and finally get playtime with his siblings.

Light dialogue and playful illustrations keep the mood humorous, even when discussing underworld banishment, war, and being eaten by a dragon. The energetic storytelling keeps the story from getting mired in the intricacies of Greek mythology and concentrates on the story of a child who just wants someone with whom to play.

Fans of Greek mythology, “Percy Jackson,” and homeschoolers, will find “Young Zeus” entertaining, enlightening, and educational.

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