Publisher: pports the British MuseumRunner up of the best new Children's Product 2012 prize at the Ace awards ceremony (March 2012)If you want to know about the ancient Olympic games, ask someone who was there! Who better to ask than Tethys, the grandmother of all the Greek godsThe Greek gods gather on Mount Olympus to watch the games taking place on Earth belowLike any typical family, they revive old rivalries, pick out their favourite competitors, and vie for the best view
Age Range: 8-10 Junior/Middle
Buy the Book
Teachers will be looking out for books about the Olympics as 2012 gets underway. This one concentrates on the ancient Olympic Games and joins the Greek gods as they gather on Mount Olympus to watch the games taking place on earth below. We hear the story in the ‘voice’ of Tethys, grandmother of the gods. The tone is conversational and gently mocking. The illustrations are inspired by images on vases, statues and pottery on display in the British Museum. They are stylised, some with a muted palette but others vibrantly coloured and, together with the written text, give a sense of the volatile behaviour of the gods. Gesture and facial expression are delightful but sometimes disturbing – for example the image of Ouranos, the Star-Studded Sky god pushing back children ‘he did not like the look of’ when newly delivered by their mother, Gaia, the Earth goddess.
This is a complicated story which involves a huge number of Greek gods as the family tree at the beginning of the book reveals. The book tries to carry readers into an ancient civilisation where the gods were very much part of the reality of the people living at the time. However, I think that considerable teacher intervention would be needed to explain unfamiliar concepts to the older primary children for whom the book is intended and to help them understand how the gods fitted into the Greek belief system. The author is a well known story-teller and I think this book would come alive if it was read out loud and if space were provided for some interaction between teller and audience.